HEARTBROKEN parents John and Ann Holborn are today coming to terms with burying their second son in less than three years.
The devastated couple have just laid John, known as Olly, to rest next to his younger brother Joe, who died in May 2009.
Olly, a dad-of-two, died suddenly after a four-month battle with lung cancer, although it is believed a heart attack killed him.
John said: “It’s a terrible shock. I don’t know what we’d do without the grandkids.
“It’s them that keep us going and keep a smile on our faces. Them and the fact we’ve got two wonderful daughter-in-laws.”
After being diagnosed with the disease in September, Olly proposed to Karen, his partner of 17 years and mother of his two children, Joseph, 14, and Lucy, 11.
Days later, on September 28, the couple exchanged vows during an intimate ceremony at Sunderland Civic Centre.
Ann, 58, said: “It was lovely to see them get married. There was just the four of us and they didn’t want any fuss so it was really nice.”
Before being diagnosed, Olly, 38, spent months battling back pains. While receiving treatment with a chiropractor, the former St Aidan’s pupil’s legs started to swell.
He went to hospital and found he had a blood clot. Further tests revealed he had stage 4 lung cancer, which had spread to other parts of his body.
A Black Cats season ticket holder, Olly underwent chemotherapy sessions but earlier this month he died at home.
Ann, of St Aidan’s Avenue, Grangetown, said: “On the Wednesday morning he turned bad, he’d been really bad through the night so Karen called an ambulance at about 6.45am but by the time he got to hospital he had died.
“It came as a shock because I think he thought he could have lived a few more years, especially with him being so young.”
The popular City Services wagon driver was buried after a touching service at St Cecilia’s RC Church surrounded by family and friends.
Friends driving council wagons led the funeral cortege.
John, 59, said: “He was a good son and we never had any trouble with him. He was an absolute one off.
“The only thing we’d argue about was football. Everything he said I’d disagree with but that was the only thing.”
Ann added: “He was a real family man and loved his children and his family. He loved football and would often take Joseph and his nephew Harry to the match.”
In May 2009, the family were hit by tragedy when Ann and John’s son Joe, 30, died four days after a routine operation for bowel surgery at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Joe’s wife Lynsay, 32, was four months pregnant at the time with their second son Joseph, now two.
The couple also have another son Harry, 11.