A WIDOW has paid tribute to her husband on the day they were due to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Ellis Coakley died of terminal lung cancer on March 9, aged 84, a week after he and wife Ellen, aged 82, held a special ceremony to celebrate 60 years of marriage.

The ceremony, which was held at Farnworth Care Home on March 2, was brought forward from their actual wedding anniversary — May 8 — by Mr Coakley himself, because of his ill health.

A week later, Mr Coakley died at the home, surrounded by Mrs Coakley, his daughter Adrianne and his grandson Liam.

Mrs Coakley has taken comfort in the fact the couple were able to mark their special day before her husband’s death.

She said: “It’s what Ellis wanted and it was a big surprise for me, but I went along with it and it was a perfect day all round — he was chuffed to bits.

“It was very hard to see him suffer, but the staff were fantastic. Every one of them, even down to the cleaners, did a great job of looking after us.

“He was a good man. In his final days, he said that he loved me and he would love me forever.”

Last week, Mrs Coakley had two cottage armchairs and a small sofa delivered to her home in Manchester Road, Over Hulton.

Mr Coakley had intended this to be a surprise for the couple’s diamond anniversary, as Mrs Coakley had always said the sofa in the couple’s home was too big.

Mrs Coakley said: “It’s a constant reminder of Ellis and the time we spent together.”

Mr and Mrs Coakley got married at St Sebastian Church in Pendleton, Salford, on May 8, 1954.

Before they retired, Mr Coakley was a plumbing engineer while Mrs Coakley worked as a machinist in a coat factory.

They have two daughters, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Daughter, Adrianne Hilton, aged 53, said: “He was a lovely father and a fantastic grandfather. If you ever had a problem, you could go to him and he would always help.

“I’ve bought my mother some flowers to go alongside a picture of Ellis she keeps on a cabinet. She talks to him every day about how her day has been.”

Mr Coakley’s funeral was held at Overdale Crematorium on March 20.