A BEREAVED husband has praised a charity for the help it gave his family in his wife’s final months before she died of cancer.

Steven Smith, 40, of Consett, County Durham, spoke as he presented more than £2,000 to Lifespan, which offers support to people with serious and life-threatening illness.

His wife Tracey Thackeray-Smith was diagnosed with cancer last year and died in on September 17 - days after her 43rd birthday.

Mr Smith said: "Tracey wanted to make a small donation to the Lifespan but unfortunately her condition deteriorated very quickly.

"Family and friends decided it would be nice for donations to be given in lieu of flowers at her funeral, with the proceeds going to Lifespan. They do fantastic work and are not really recognised for it."

The team, which is based at nearby Minsteracres in nearby Northumberland, offer complementary therapy, such as massages aromatherapy and reflexology, as well as nutrition advice, bereavement support and a sitting service.

Mr Smith said: "Their support made a difference to myself and my family during a very difficult time."

Up to £600 was raised at the funeral service held at a packed Leadgate Methodist Church and more than £400 by friends and family.

Mrs Thackeray-Smith’s friends and colleagues at Durham Constabulary’s Crown Judicial Unit raised £100. Mr Smith’s colleagues at Northumbrian Water raised a further £256 - match-funded by the company. The GMB contributed a further £500.

Mrs Thackeray-Smith is survived by four children.

For further information about Lifespan, which covers Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham, contact (01434) 673777, visit www.lifespanteam.org.uk or email info@lifespanteam.org.uk.