THE WIFE of a popular Chester footballer who died from stomach cancer has paid an emotional tribute to a ‘wonderful, loving and devoted’ husband and father.
Father-of-two Kevin Jenson, 43, from Vicars Cross, died at the Countess of Chester Hospital following a year-long battle with the disease.
He was a well known figure in and around the Chester and District Sunday League, having played for numerous clubs and captained his final club, the Corner Pin in Saltney, to treble success in his final season last year.
Friends and family have paid their respects to Kevin via a memorial Facebook page that has been inundated with tributes and messages of love and support for his wife Anne-Marie, 33, and children Eloise, seven, and Thomas, five.
“Kevin was an amazing husband and father and was one of those people who made a lasting impression on everyone he met. He was just so easy to like,” said Anne-Marie, who married Kevin in 2002.
“He was devoted to me and the kids and he had such a wide circle of friends. The tributes paid to him have been really touching.”
Football fan Kevin, who supported Everton and Chester FC, was diagnosed with the terminal illness in November last year.
“Kevin was determined to enjoy life to the full and make sure the kids had wonderful memories to remember him by,” said Anne-Marie.
“In the space of a few months we went on family holidays to Mexico, Egypt and Tenerife.
“Kevin even went on a lads’ football trip to Benidorm when he was quite ill.
“He just didn’t want to let the lads down and wanted to make sure that he made the most of life.
“He was known as ‘legend’ and ‘the leader’ by his football mates. They just loved him and presented a big shield in his honour at his funeral.”
More than 500 mourners attended Kevin’s funeral at St John the Baptist Church in Aldford and a minute’s silence was held in his honour at the league match between the Corner Pin and Blacon on Sunday.
Anne-Marie said: “When the kids saw how many people came out for Kevin’s funeral they were amazed. They said ‘wow, daddy really is famous!’.
“Kevin was devastated that he wouldn’t get to see the kids grow up but we made them their own photo albums of their daddy so that they would have precious memories of him forever.
“Thomas wore his Everton kit to the funeral and Eloise wore red. Kevin was always so well turned out and he was adamant that the kids weren’t to be dressed in black.
“He was determined to make sure that everything was sorted for us when he died.
“He was always the joker though and said it was typical that Everton were having a good season and he wouldn’t get chance to see it all.”
In a successful Sunday League football career, Kevin played for clubs including The Mount, The Red House and St Werburghs before joining the Corner Pin in 2003.
“I’ve know Kevin and played footy with him for 20 odd years,” said Lee Woodworth, a close friend of Kevin’s who played with him at the Corner Pin.
“He was a great player, so strong and a really good ball winner.
“He used to live and breathe football and would ring me up when he was at work to talk about tactics.
“As a bloke though he was just amazing and it just isn’t the same without him.”
Neil Murray, managing director of Wirral-based printing firm Synergy, where Kevin worked as an account manager, said: “Kevin, or ‘Buster’ as we used to call him, was a unique character, once met, never forgotten.
“His many stories, phrases and sayings are part of the folklore here at Synergy.
“In fact at some point every day someone somewhere within the business will be heard quoting one of Kevin’s unique sayings.
“They probably only mean something to us, but that’s what makes them special, a part of Kevin we loved, a part of Kevin we can keep.
“We are proud to call him an employee and have him represent our company but more importantly we are even prouder to call him our friend.”