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Family devastated after sudden death of Hawarden dad Ashley Byrne, 22

A HEARTBROKEN mum has paid an emotional tribute to her beloved 22-year-old son who died suddenly after collapsing at work.

Former Hawarden High School pupil Ashley Byrne passed away at specialist neurological hospital The Walton Centre in Liverpool on Sunday, four days after falling ill.

The electrician, who worked for Chester and District Housing Trust, was described as ‘the life and soul of the party’ by mum Julie, of Blackbrook Avenue in Hawarden.

“He was the most loving, caring, kind, funniest, happiest lad. He was the life and soul of the party,” Julie told the Chronicle.

“He was such a character, he made everybody laugh. He’d walk through the door and make you laugh straight away. It was natural.”

Ashley, who went to Sandycroft Primary School, lived in Mancot with his partner of four years Katie Ensall, who gave birth to the couple’s first child – daughter Lillia – last summer.

A keen footballer who supported Manchester United, Ashley played for New Brighton and the White Bear in Mancot and previously represented Hawarden Rangers and Flintshire Schoolboys.

In his youth he had trials with Man Utd, Everton and Tranmere Rovers.

Ashley also leaves dad Mike, stepfather Richard, brother Matthew, 24, and sister Johanna, 15.

Julie said the whole family has been devastated by her son’s death, which came completely out of the blue.

“He went to work as normal on Wednesday and was working with his friends when he just collapsed,” she said.

Ashley was taken to the Countess of Chester Hospital before being transferred to Walton, where medics battled in vain to save him.

Julie added: “Even when he was in hospital all the nurses wanted to know all about him because they could tell how loved and how popular he was.

“He just touched so many lives, and whenever he touched someone they’d remember him. He was remarkable.”

Mike said: “All the staff were touched. They said they’d rarely seen such love and affection from a family pulling together.”

Mike said he would cherish the memories of the fishing trips he had taken with Ashley and Matthew since both his sons were young.

“That’s what I’ll miss most – we had some wonderful times,” he added.

“We’d go every few weeks and me and Matthew would always be jealous of Ash because he would always catch the most fish – and the biggest!”

Mike also said the whole family has been touched by the heartfelt tributes left by Ashley’s many friends on Facebook.

He added: “I’ve been dumfounded with the response, absolutely amazed, and we’d like to thank everyone so much for their support.”

Ashley's funeral will be held at St Deiniol's Church in Hawarden at 2pm on Monday, and the wake will be held at Ewloe Sports and Social Club from about 3pm. Mourners are asked to wear a small red item in tribute to Ashley's love of Manchester United.