TRIBUTES have been paid to a ‘well-respected’ and ‘compassionate’ solicitor who died after a long battle with cancer.

Francis Whitehead died on September 12 at Wrexham Maelor at the age of 55 and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Husband Brian Hunter said: “He was a saint and when I very first met him, I thought he was something special.

“Everyone I talk to feels he was such a good man; he was so helpful to everyone. No matter what the problem was he would help them solve it.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Mr Whitehead was born in Burnley and studied law before opening up his own firm in 1993, Whitehead Woodward and co.

He then worked for Hopeley, Pierce and Bird and then Hopeleys GMA in Wrexham where he continued to work until his passing.

Mr Hunter and Mr Whitehead began their relationship after meeting in Manchester in 1992 and started their married life in 2009 in Wrexham.

Mr Hunter added: “We met in 1992 and been together ever since that date. I don’t think we ever shared cross words. We became civil partners in 2009 in Wrexham.

“Just like everything in his life, if he did something, he had to do it properly and he took out bagpipes in 2013. He studied in Glasgow for tuition and then joined the Wirral pipe band; it was a great pleasure for him.

“For hours a day he played the bagpipes.”

The pair moved to Marford to build their own home which Mr Hunter described as perfect.

He told the Leader: “We decided to build a house and spent a year looking in Cheshire and we didn’t find anywhere.

“We found a site in Marford which was advertised as Cheshire, but it was overlooking Cheshire, it was perfect. We got it right away and got our home built here.

“One most recent memory that has stuck with me is we went to Italy; he had a great love of Italy. He saw the pope and his name was Pope Francis so when we got back, all anyone called him was Pope Francis.

“He was a very compassionate man.”

Mr Whitehead died from pancreatic cancer and leaves behind family and friends.

The funeral service will be held at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral on September 27 at 12pm followed by a cremation Pentrebychan Crematorium at 2pm.

Donations would be greatly received for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Mr Hunter said: “Everyone he came into contact with at the hospital, even he said, they were marvellous, and he had great hope until the end.

“Macmillan is a cause close to my heart. Anyone who knew him or would like to come can.”