‘We’re doing it for mammy’ – family of Lisa Kelly take on charity challenge in memory of their angel

Gav Calvert with twin daughters Scarlett and Jasmine.
Gav Calvert with twin daughters Scarlett and Jasmine.

The sudden death of a devoted mum has left a void in her family’s life that can never be filled.

Lisa Kelly was only 35 years old when her life was cut tragically short after she collapsed in the car park of Bamburgh School where she worked as an education practitioner.

Devastated partner Gavin Calvert’s world was torn apart and his dream of proposing to his “one true love” was shattered.

However, further heartache was in store for the former soldier when he was left to tell the couple’s two children, twins Scarlett and Jasmine - five - their mum had died.

Gavin, 36, along with a team of riders - which include Lisa’s brother Paul, will now be taking part in a bike ride later this month.

He will be joined for the last part of the Coast to Coast route by his two girls who will join him as he crosses the finishing line.

I sat them down and told them mam’s not here anymore - she’s an angel now.

Gav Calvert

It’s an event the youngsters, who attend Valley View Primary School, are both looking forward to taking part in.

When asked if they were looking forward to joining their dad on the last part of the ride, they both said “yes”.

Adding: “We are doing it for mammy.”

Devastated Gavin said his life collapsed after he got the call saying Lisa had collapsed.

Gav Calvert and friends, who are going to ride the Coast 2 Coast cylce route in memory of partner and mum Lisa Kelly.

Gav Calvert and friends, who are going to ride the Coast 2 Coast cylce route in memory of partner and mum Lisa Kelly.

He said: “When I got the call to say she had collapsed, at first I thought it was just Lisa doing too much and not drinking enough water or eating healthy enough.

“I can remember thinking I’m going to have words with her when she gets in about taking more care of herself.

“But when I got to the school and saw her it was like ‘bam’ the air ambulance was there and I knew then she was dead.

“After getting back from the hospital, the girls were at their nanas. I took them upstairs and sat them down.

Lisa Kelly and Gav Calvert with twin daughters Scarlett and Jasmine.

Lisa Kelly and Gav Calvert with twin daughters Scarlett and Jasmine.

“They knew about angels and God. I just sat them down and told them mam’s not here anymore - she’s an angel now.

“Scarlett hugged me like she had never done before and Jasmine just cried - that was a horrible time.”

The couple first met when Lisa worked in Donatello’s in South Shields and Gav who had been home on leave from the Army had gone in with his friends for food.

Asking for a cheeky kiss, a young Lisa refused - however their paths crossed days later at Ocean Nightclub.

“She looked totally different, she was all done up. I went over to her and said you’re the lass from the kebab shop – I got my kiss that I had been asking for that night.”

Gavin, who had already served in Kosovo when he met Lisa in 1999, continued to serve in the Army carrying out tours of duty in Northern Ireland and Iraq. All the while Lisa waited patiently at home for her partner.

In 2011, their twins Scarlett and Jasmine were born and life for the couple changed again.

Gavin, who had left the Army, had secured a job working off-shore - working away for months at a time - but it wasn’t until he finally found a job which kept him at home, that he finally felt settled and ready to take the next step by asking Lisa to be his wife.

He said: “When I got his job with Balfour Beatty everything was looking great.

“I had it in my mind that we would now be able to be a proper family, we’d have a nice family holiday first and then I wanted to get engaged.

“When I got the job and I could stay at home, I was lot more relaxed and a more happier person.

“Coming home on a tea-time to my family every night, I was thinking to myself this is too good to be true.

“Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs like any couples, but in my mind all I wanted to do was give Lisa the best version of myself I could possibly be.

“I had it all worked out that I was going to propose next year. I wanted to show her that I was committed.

“Lisa waited for me on so many occasions and now it’s up to me to keep her memory alive and to do the right thing for our girls.”

The ride

On Wednesday, March 15, Gavin Calvert’s world was turned upside down when his partner Lisa Kelly collapsed and died aged 35.

Now, the 36-year-old has channelled his grief into taking part in a bike ride to raise funds for Bamburgh School and Community Corner.

He will be joined by a team of 24 others who will cycle 180 miles over three days following one of the Coast-to-Coast cycle routes.

Gavin said: “I had already decided to do a bike ride before any of this happened.

“It was my mate Sergeant Royal Marine Tim Fox who suggested we still do it but turn it into a fundraiser.

“A lot of the lads haven’t done anything like this before, so it’s going to be tough.

“But everyone has been fantastic and they are all really keen for it.”

The lads will travel to their starting destination on the North West coast to start their journey back to the North East on May 26.

They will then be joined by the couple’s two girls Scarlett and Jasmine, who will ride over the finishing line with their dad.

Those taking part include: Sgt Royal Marine Tim Fox, Laurence Calvert, Leon Calvert, Paul Kelly, Jonny Black, Rob Haldane, Anthony Murphy, Chris ‘Jarra’ Ryan, Darren Effard, Jonny Carr, Lee O’Donovan, Lee Henderson, Richard Rattenbury, Gary Shaw, Barry Nesbitt, Colin Roach, Craig Scurfield, Gareth ‘Dinger’ Bell, Kevin Kassim, David Hall, Matthew Muchall, Carl Ridley, Jason Wakefield and Paul Jary.

A fundraising page has now been set up for anyone wishing to make a donation.

To make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/180milesforLisa