THE heartbroken husband of York charity champion Dawn Watts has spoken out after his “very best friend and soulmate” lost a five year battle against cancer.

Stuart Watts - whose wife died in his arms at their home in Copmanthorpe last week - said he was “lucky to have had something that made saying goodbye so hard”.

He also revealed that Dawn, 53, a former York Hospital A&E nurse, had raised more than £37,500 for charities including York Against Cancer and St Leonard’s Hospice since throwing herself into charity work after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013.

He said another £1,000 had been raised in the past few weeks, which he expected to increase in the weeks ahead.

Dawn, who was a finalist in the charity fundraiser of the year category of the 2016 York Community Pride Awards, was involved in events including several rock gigs called Dawnfest, a sponsored head shave, a skydive and a 100mph zip wire challenge.

Stuart said: “Dawn’s no longer in pain but this world has lost an angel.

“She was my very best friend, soulmate as well as wife, and a fantastic step mum. I’m heartbroken but so glad we could spend the time we had together at home.

“The support from the hospice’s nurses allowed her to remain at home and be with me and the family in her final days.”

He said that despite her illness, Dawn had continued to enjoy life to the full, always believing that laughter was the best medicine, and they laughed daily.

“She had the ability to light up a room with her smile and laugh, and throughout her battle she continued to think about others.”

He said she was selfless to the end and had always said she was happier that she had the disease, rather than it be anyone else.

“Cancer gave us a love far greater than I could have ever hoped to experience,” he said. “We still won, not cancer.”

He said Dawn had drawn up a detailed plan for her funeral at York Crematorium, which would be just for a small number of her close family members and friends.

“The level of detail has been exceptional and ensured that we know exactly what she wanted, from coffin, flowers, music, readings and the clothes for her to wear, which included warm pink socks for her feet, to being accompanied by Bruno her childhood bear, and teddy bear hot water bottle.

“She also has a matching flower in her hair, her trademark.”

He added that an event would be held in celebration of Dawn’s life in the New Year, with collections going to the hospice.