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A wonderful man and father, we are left with a huge hole in our lives.

Byline: HYWEL TREWYN

TRIBUTES AFTER MAN'S FOUR-YEAR CANCER BATTLE THAT STARTED WITH MOLE DISCOVERY A MUM-OF-TWO has paid tribute to her husband who died after a four-year battle with cancer which started when she spotted a mole on his arm.

Mountain leader and outdoorsman Pete Bursnall was diagnosed with melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - in April 2008. Despite operations and chemotherapy and fighting to maintain an active life, Pete died at home in Llanberis on January 5, aged 45.

His wife Aila said that after his funeral at Bangor, a number of people - including their 10-year-old son Owen - cycled 10-miles to Plas Menai watersports centre to celebrate his life. Aila said: "We did a lot of crying but Owen said: 'I was glad I did the ride. It was great, I loved it'."

Aila was inundated with flowers from the funeral as well as a boxful of cards and letters from wellwishers including politicians such as Arfon AM Alun Ffred Jones.

Aila said: "Pete worked in management and team development. He was an advisor for the Welsh Government on tourism."

A mountain instructor, Pete had been a member of a number of rescue teams.

Born in Crewe, he attended Ysgol Brynrefail and Sheffield University.

Chemist and health and safety expert Aila said: "I met him at the Heights in Llanberis in 1992 and that was it. It was like a thunderbolt.

"There was chemistry, something happened between us. We went to a party and we haven't been apart since.

"Pete was big and muscular. He did a lot of rowing. He was a very fit man."

Aila said: "After having children we wanted to show them Wales and all the fun things you can do.

"Our whole life was the kids. We'd go kayaking, mountain biking, walking, coasteering... it's what we did most weekends, pack our gear and go out for an activity."

Pete wrote his first of three books - Mid Wales Mountain Bike Rides - when he was only 25, and was dedicated to bringing up Owen and Riannon, eight.

Aila said: "They have had a whole life time with their father, much more time than other kids."

"Pete's enthusiasm was infectious.

He'd make things fun for people.

"Despite cancer tumours being found in Pete's neck and stomach last summer, he did the Slateman triathlon in Llanberis in May and Sandman triathlon in Newborough in September."

After the cancer re-emerged, Pete had chemotherapy in Clatterbridge but even then, in November, managed to lead his family to safety after an electrical fire at their home.

On December 23, Pete was quite ill and had to stay at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Aila said: "When he overheard a doctor speaking to a Welsh-speaking patient who couldn't understand him because of his accent, Pete got out of his bed and helped to translate.

Pete's final few days were spent at home with his family.

Aila said; "The palliative care team, nurses, doctor's surgery, chemists and friends in Llanberis have been fantastic.

"I was privileged. It was an amazing experience to care, to cherish and love someone and to allow them the dignity to leave, to go on to their next life.

"He's left a hole in our lives but would have wanted us to go out on our bikes or in the mountains and have fun in the outdoors.

"He had a positive mental attitude and lived life to the full."

hyweltrewyn@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Pete Burnsall was an active man who loved outdoor sports Aila Burnsall has two children, Owen, 10, and Rhiannon, eight
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 30, 2012
Words:594
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