Richard Butcher

On January 10th 2011 my beautiful husband Richard passed away in his sleep. Richard was 29 years old, he would have turned 30 just 12 days later.

Richard and I had married only 7 months earlier. We first met each other in 2002 and I can still clearly remember the day I set eyes on him. He was the definition of perfection to me in every way. It wasn’t until 2005 that we became ‘an item’, but from then on we were never far from each other’s side. This regularly led to friendly jibes from our friends but we were each other’s soul mate and happiest when we were together.

Richard was a professional footballer and spent his career in Leagues One and Two of the English football league. He was always one of, if not the, fittest in his squad and was such a dedicated professional in every way.

The summer before his death we had just relocated to Manchester where he had signed a two year footballing contract in League 2, and begun a part time degree in Physiotherapy at Salford University in preparation for the end of his footballing career. I was so proud of Richard for gaining his place at University and he was really enjoying his first year of studying.

Following our relocation I was searching for a job in Manchester, but still working as a nurse in Lincoln where we had relocated from. I left Richard and our dog, Charlie (who Richard doted on), on the Saturday afternoon at 4pm, to work two night shifts before returning to Manchester on the Monday morning. It was on my drive home that morning that my world fell apart. Richard hadn’t arrived for football training.

As I always did, I had tried to call Richard as I was leaving work in an attempt to catch him on his was to training. There was no answer, but I just assumed he had left his phone at home, or had it on silent. I had spoken to him at 18:55 the night before as I was just about to begin my last night shift and he was fine. We were planning what we were going to do in my next few days off, messing around as we told each other how much we loved and missed each other and couldn’t wait to see each other the next day.

A bit later on I received a phone call from one of Richard’s best friends, Ben. Ben lived just up the road from us and phoned asking if I had spoken to Richard that morning as he hadn’t arrived for training. For some reason, as soon as Ben told me this and continued to say he had since been to our house, that Richard’s car was still on the drive and he could hear Charlie inside, I just knew the worst had happened.

Richard had gone to bed on the Sunday night and sadly never woke up.

For a long time I felt so guilty that I wasn’t at home and thought about if I was and what I might have been able to do to still have him here with me; but at the inquest I was told that even if I was at home the outcome would have been the same and that night Richard would have been completely unaware of anything happening. I now try to take comfort in knowing Richard was in the comfort our bed and passed away with dignity with our beloved Charlie by his side.

Like all of us in this situation, if I could do anything to still have him here with me I would. We had so many hopes and dreams to share together. We were meant to grow old together, have our own family and make a million more memories.

Unfortunately that is not how it has turned out. I will always carry Richard in my heart. He was my everything and I am so proud to call him my husband.

He was a big softie, such a caring and considerate person who loved his family and friends dearly. As I continue in life, Richard will always be my inspiration.

The love that we shared will always live with me and has made me who I am today, despite the nightmare I have endured in losing him. I will always be thankful to Richard for making my dreams come true in the time we had together.

Richard has left a huge gap in so many lives and will NEVER be forgotten.

Myself and a group of our friends have been raising money since Richard’s untimely passing which has enabled us to organise a cardiac screening session in Lincoln to highlight the issue of Cardiac Risk in the Young and Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. The session is being held on January 30th 2012. We have had so much support from the local community and by doing this in Richard’s memory I feel it is a way of giving something back and thanking everyone for their support and generosity. The aim is to prevent another family from experiencing the pain and heartache we have felt, and the closest we can get in attempting this, is by funding and organising the screening session. This means we have achieved something positive from our own very negative situation.

I am 100% certain Richard would be extremely proud and touched by everyone’s efforts and contributions as we keep his memory alive.

Sarah Butcher