THE wife of a 36-year-old Smalley man who died just three months after their wedding says she is struggling to make sense of his death.
Phil Burrows appeared fit and healthy when he wed his American sweetheart, Mandy Hansen, on July 22.
Eight weeks later, he was taken ill and doctors found an abscess on his bowel.
It was removed but he went on to suffer an inflamed colon.
That caused his health to deteriorate further and, four days after being admitted to hospital, he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Phil became so poorly he died on October 21 – only ten days after his father, Colin, died from cancer.
Speaking about her loss, Mandy, 26, said: “I don’t think it will ever make sense to me. He could eat anything.
“To think he died because his colon gave up on him is just crazy.”
The couple met while Phil was on a business trip in America with his then employer Rolls-Royce.
Recalling the night in January 2007 Mandy said: “We just met on a night out. We were laughing and joking at an 80s night and ended up dancing all night.
“He was so easy to get along with. I knew then he was the one.”
Later that year, Mandy moved to London to begin a one-year placement at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
The couple saw each other at weekends while Phil continued his role at Rolls-Royce as a project manager.
He joined Network Rail in a similar capacity a year later.
Mandy said the first signs that Phil was unwell came during their honeymoon in North Wales.
She said: “We were out walking and he nearly fell down, which was not like him.
“And when he did a parachute jump two weeks after the wedding, it really wore him out. At the time we just thought it was the stress of everything going on, like his dad being so ill.”
A week before being admitted to hospital, Phil went on a lads’ holiday to Spain.
Mandy said: “He came back home and was complaining of pain throughout the week.
“It got to the point he couldn’t sleep because it was so bad. He went to hospital and it all went downhill from there.”
Mandy said her husband’s death had devastated his many friends, who she said called him ‘The Cat’ because of his reflexes while playing in goal during their football games.
She also recalled his sense of adventure – he participated in both bull-running and parachuting – and described him as a wonderful husband.
She said: “For me, he was incredibly loyal. He always wanted me to be happy.
“He had a way of making me laugh whenever I was unhappy. He made an impact on everyone he met.”
Mandy’s family flew to England to help her with Phil’s funeral arrangements.
Her mother, Pam, said she was distraught at losing her son-in-law. She said: “We loved him. He charmed the whole family. I was so happy when Mandy married him.”