THE family of a young mother who died suddenly at the weekend have paid tribute to a ‘beautiful angel’.
Nicola Rigby, 26, of Princes Road, Ellesmere Port, had become a mother for the first time to baby Lily in February this year, but tragically only got to spend five months with her daughter before her shock death on Saturday night.
Her devastated fiancé Mark Wilson, of Princes Road, Ellesmere Port, told the Pioneer that Nicola, a keen member of the ladies’ team at Vauxhall Motors FC, had been complaining of tiredness and occasional stomach aches and headaches ever since having an emergency Caesarean section.
Last Friday, while out at Chester Zoo celebrating Mark’s 27th birthday, she began to feel worse and started vomiting.
After going home to rest, Nicola, who worked as a supervisor at JJB Sports on Cheshire Oaks, said she was feeling much better.
Reassured, Mark went out for a birthday celebration, keeping in regular contact with her by phone.
But, despite her assurances she felt fine, Mark discovered she had died when he returned home later that night.
As yet the cause of her death has not been determined, and Mark, who was due to marry Nicola in 2014, said her family and friends are still in shock.
“She was often tired a lot and had a few stomach pains but she didn’t complain, and she had always played a lot of football so she was very healthy and planned to go back next season,” said Mark, who would have been with Nicola for five years in September.
“Nicky had had all her usual doctor’s checks and everything was fine so we still don’t really know much at the moment.
“But she was such a caring person, and never ever had a bad word to say about anybody
“She was extremely friendly, she loved having fun – all her university friends from the University of Central Lancashire will vouch for that.
“But she was also such a good mother and Lily loves her so much.
“She is an angel now but I will miss her smile forever.”
Floods of tributes have been paid on Nicola’s Facebook page, and fundraising site set up earlier this week by Nicola’s football teammates, has already raised more than £300, which will go toward helping Mark look after Lily.
And some of her friends are taking part in other events to raise more money, such as a 50-mile bike ride and charity football match.
Nicola’s father Robert and sister Rachel, 24, also paid tribute, describing her as “a loving daughter, who will be sadly missed but will remain forever in our hearts.”
To donate to Nicola’s family, visit www.gofundme.com/whls0.