A "KIND and caring" father-of-four has died from a brain tumour, less than six years after a similar illness took the life of his nine-year-old son.

Ian Hughes’ widow Marie, of Dunnington, near York, has paid tribute to a "very special man, who always put the children first".

Both Ian and his son Oscar Hughes died from brain tumours - although Marie said Ian's was a totally different type to Oscar’s and had no connection, adding: “It’s just bad luck.”

She told The Press yesterday how Ian had helped her get through their son’s long illness and death in 2014, and then worked with her to set up a charity in Oscar’s name which has since raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help other children suffering from such cancers.

“He was a kind, caring, strong and passionate man, with a wicked sense of humour,” she said.

“I am very proud of him. He set up one of the Dunnington junior football teams and managed it, and was a governor of Dunnington Primary School, and was committed to helping local kids.”

She said Ian had been a trustee and fundraiser for Sarcoma UK, after having first fallen ill in 2010 with a sarcoma of the foot. This was followed in 2017 with an unrelated sarcoma of the abdomen. He recovered from both cancers.

After Oscar’s death from medulloblastoma, they had set up OSCAR’s Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity, which gave the Brain Tumour Charity £200,000 last year to co-fund a ground-breaking clinical trial which aims to find out if children with Oscar’s illness could receive less toxic chemotherapy and lower radiotherapy doses without reducing their survival chances and a research project into medulloblastoma.

“Ian combined fundraising with his love of cycling, running and walking, and loved challenges and is still in the Guinness Book of Records for rowing across Loch Ness in a kayak,” she said.

Marie said she also wanted to thank villagers and friends from across York, and further afield, for the "absolutely amazing" support they had given her since Ian fell ill early last year with an incurable type of brain tumour.

She said people had brought round food and helped with other practical tasks so she could focus on caring for Ian and their three surviving children, Seb, 16, Lucas, 12, and Milo, four.

She also thanked St Leonard’s Hospice, where Ian stayed from November until he died last Friday, aged 49.

“They were absolutely fantastic,” she said. “They couldn’t have done more for us and were incredibly understanding of our needs.

“Ian raised £800 for the hospice when he was in there by putting out an appeal on Facebook. He had wanted to die at home but if it couldn’t be there, the hospice was the best possible place he could die, peacefully and with dignity.”

She also praised Ian’s previous employers, ABP Foods and Karro, for the support they gave him during his illnesses and Oscar’s illness and death.

Marie said Ian's brain tumour had been diagnosed as a glioblastoma after he suffered a massive seizure at their home. “I heard a massive bump from upstairs and found him on the floor. I feared straightaway as I was ringing 999 that it was a brain tumour.”

Marie said Ian loved music, travelling all over Yorkshire to see his favourite bands, and some of his favourite songs would play a big part in his funeral later this month.

She said Ian staged a benefit gig at the Fulford Arms in York in 2018 for the lead singer of cult band Cardiacs, Tim Smith, who suffered a heart attack in 2008 and needed funds for medical treatment.
The event attracted musicians from across the UK and raised £1,100.

There would therefore be a song at the funeral by Cardiacs, along with One Day Like This, by Elbow, and also Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel, and Fantastic Place by Marillion, both of which were played at their son Oscar's funeral in 2014.

The funeral will take place at 11am on Saturday January 25 at York Crematorium.

Marie said the collection at the end of the funeral will raise money for three causes, all of which were close to Ian's heart: OSCAR'S Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity, St Leonard's Hospice and Sarcoma UK.