WHEN Anthony Robinson found out he was to become a dad he beamed with delight - despite knowing he would never see his little girl born.
He died five months later aged just 35 after a short battle with cancer, but his fiancee is sure his smiling spirit will live on in their baby due this month.
Leanne Hall had been told by medics that they only had a five per cent chance of conceiving after Anthony was struck down with bowel cancer, but she is now only weeks away from giving birth to Amelia.
Anthony chose the name after seeing his daughter grow on a number of specially arranged, regular hospital scans before he died on May 5. Leanne was 29 weeks pregnant at the time.
Housewife Leanne, 36, who lives in Chesterton Road, Hartlepool, said: “It was like all of his birthdays and Christmases had come at once. He was so excited even though he knew he wouldn’t see her grow up. I won’t forget his face when I told him I was pregnant, he was beaming.”
“I have this little person now inside of me that is his legacy. Anthony will live on in her.
“He had the chance to see her as the hospital put on special scans for us and gave us loads of photos.”
In a twist of fate, Amelia’s due date is the same as the day that Anthony was told he had cancer – July 17.
Anthony’s family have vowed to make sure the youngster will know all about her brave dad who never stopped smiling as he came to terms with his illness and Leanne is putting together a memory book for her to read when she’s older.
The family were hit by even more tragedy when Anthony’s mum, Pat Lancaster, died aged 68 on June 7, just five weeks after her son.
Anthony’s sister Elsa Smith, 42, said they found out their mum had cancer in December, but believes Pat had known she had the killer disease for at least 18 months and kept it a secret while she cared for Anthony, who she lived with in Masefield Road, Hartlepool.
Anthony only found out that she too had a terminal condition when the disease took hold at the turn of the year.
Elsa, a Hartlepool Connect worker from Loyalty Road, said: “When Anthony was going, she lent over and gave him a kiss and said ‘I won’t be long son’.
“They were so close. They lived together and spent so much time together.
“He adored her and was always looking after her, and she was the same for him.
“The last few months have been more like a celebration of their lives. We have never stopped laughing and giggling because they were both so happy and didn’t want to be sad. Of course there have been tears, but we have all pulled together and we now have memories now that are priceless.
“They will both be sorely missed.”
Anthony, who was unemployed, found out he was ill when he collapsed and had a seizure on his way out to a family mass.
Medics found he had a tumour in his bowel that could be operated on, but the cancer had already spread to his brain.
In January, the family were told he would have only six weeks left, but he managed to defy doctors and keep going.
He refused to get down about the morbid circumstances and even planned his own funeral with a smile on his face, ordering people that they could not wear black.
His mum also had a hand in her send-off, following Anthony’s lead in telling everyone tears were banned.
Leanne, who had been with Anthony for 18 months, said he will also be missed by her seven children from a previous relationship, Leah, seven, Kieran, eight, Sophie, 10, Matthew, 11, Kayleigh, 13, Aaron, 15, and Michael, 16.
She added: “All the children had a special bond with Anthony and he worshipped them like they were his own.
“The girls performed at the town hall when he was ill and he still managed to get up all the stairs to see them. They recorded a song that was played at his funeral, it was beautiful.”