A man who was overwhelmed by the community’s efforts to help him after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer has died at the age of 44.
Andy Williams, of Saturn Way, Hemel Hempstead, bravely fought the condition until the early hours of Wednesday, September 2, when he passed away at the Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted.
He leaves behind his children, nine-year-old Leah and Harry, seven, their mother and his ex-partner Jet Minas Miller, as well as many friends.
Friend Steph Twydell, who knew Andy for more than a decade, said: “It was heartbreaking to see him so poorly, but he’s at peace now and no longer in pain.
“When you’re given a death sentence like Andy was, you realise it’s the small things around you that matter and you are so thankful for everything.”
The former binman was overcome with emotion just a few months ago, when friends of his children came together to collect donations outside their local Co-Op at The Heights in Hemel Hempstead.
This snowballed and Andy’s story got around, and while the donations continued to flood in local DJ JB John arranged for him to meet Terry Coldwell from East 17 – his favourite band.
Steph said: “I know the people who helped Andy, whether they knew him or not, are what enabled him to keep going that bit longer.
“He was so overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness, and their love and support meant so much to him.
“We were told he would not make his birthday, which was on August 25, so that’s why we held an early birthday party for him.
“But he proved the doctors wrong and I think it’s because he wanted to stick around and see what happened next.
“He didn’t want to miss out!”
The online crowdfunder page set up managed to raise £3,475 and this will cover the cost of Andy’s funeral, which Steph says is a ‘huge weight’ off of the family’s shoulders.
Andy’s funeral service will be held tomorrow (Wednesday, September 16) at 2pm at West Herts Crematorium in Garston, with a wake at the Rose & Crown in Hemel’s Old Town High Street from 3pm where anyone is welcome to raise a drink to Andy.
The family have asked for any donations in Andy’s name to be given directly to the Hospice of St Francis.