The life of much-loved school worker Lisa Kelly will be remembered today - one year since the devoted mother-of-two’s sudden death.
The 35-year-old died after collapsing in the car park of the school where she worked - devastating her family and friends, and breaking the hearts of partner Gavin Calvert and their twin daughters Jasmine and Scarlett - aged six.
One year on, Gavin and the girls say Lisa still remains a huge part of their lives as they try and rebuild a world that was shattered on that fateful day of March 15 as Lisa laft Bamburgh School, in Norham Avenue, South Shields.
Gavin and the girls are planning to visit Lisa’s grave today before remembering her with a family tea.
He said: “There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about Lisa, but the girls have kept me going.
“They know mammy is an angel, but I’m still waiting for the day when they will start asking questions, as I don’t really think they fully understand.
It is hard, knowing they are growing up without their mam, but they are doing really wellGavin Calvert
“It is hard, knowing they are growing up without their mam, but they are doing really well.
“They really do keep me active and we have become so much closer.”
The couple first met when Lisa worked in Donatello’s in South Shields and Gavin who had been home on leave from the Army had gone in with his friends.
Asking for a cheeky kiss, a young Lisa refused - however their paths crossed days later at Ocean Nightclub.
In 2011, their twins Scarlett and Jasmine were born.
Shortly before Lisa died, Gavin who had left the army and was working offshore, had secured a job with Balfour Beatty which kept him at the home they shared in Jarrow.
Feeling more settled, he was also planning on asking Lisa who he described as his “one true love” to be his wife.
He said: “When I wake up I think about her, when I go to bed I think about her. I do reflect a lot on the time we spent together, and there are times it does make me sad.
“I know Lisa wouldn’t want us to be sad and unhappy and I have to stay focused for the girls.”
He added: “There’s a lot of things I’ve had to learn. I was a dad who went out to work but now I’m a dad who goes out to work, does the school run, and think about things I didn’t really have to think about before, like dance classes and learn how to do the girls’ hair.
“Christmas was hard. I love Christmas I always have, but there was a lot of pressure to try and make it the best for the girls. It was the first Christmas without their mam and without Lisa by my side, which was hard.
“On Mother’s Day, the girls made cards and we went down to her grave.
“I’ve had a lot of support from Lisa’s family, my family and friends, and times like this you really do find out who your real friends are. “I’ve also had support from the Cruse Crew, helping me make new friends which has given me the chance to meet and talk to other people in similar situations. It’s also been good for Jasmine and Scarlett.
“They are doing really well at school, they are hitting all their targets and continuing to make new friends. Life won’t ever be the same or how I imagined it would be without Lisa - I just hope we are making her proud.”