A HEARTBROKEN husband has spoke of his sadness following the death of his ‘soul mate’ from meningitis.

Cath Woods, 61, came home from work early on Wednesday complaining of feeling sick.

Less than 24 hours later she was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia – a form of meningitis.

Husband Mick, 62, of Moorside Drive, Clayton-le-Moors, said: “I have had 20 years of my life with Cath and I have enjoyed every moment.

“It took me 40 years to find the woman of my dreams. She was my soul mate. My best friend. We were ready for the next 20 years of our life together. Life can be so unfair.

“We were inseparable. She is the best thing that ever happened to me.

“She had such an enthusiasm for life. She’s irreplaceable.”

Blackburn Rovers fan Cath worked for the Department for Work and Pensions at Simonstone where she had worked for more than 15 years as a team leader.

She had three grown up sons, Ian, Neil and Andrew, from a previous marriage.

Cath and Mick had married in 2003 but she kept the surname Hartley at work. She was looking forward to joining Mick in retirement from March.

He said: “She went into work on Wednesday but was back home within an hour because she felt sick and her limbs felt heavy. I checked on her every hour, taking her drinks, but she was very drowsy.

“When I went to bed at around 11.30pm she was trying to get out of bed and when she turned to me her face was swollen and full of a purple rash.

“I phoned for an ambulance and travelled with her to the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

“Meningitis was mentioned and the panic bells started ringing. They told me that I should contact her sons.”

He said Cath was a fit person and last year they climbed to Everest’s base camp.

Her funeral will be held on Friday, November 16, at Accrington Crema-torium from 1pm, followed by a wake at the Peel Park pub – where Cath and Mick used to go on a Saturday night.

A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said: “In line with national guidelines, close household contacts have been given antibiotics as a precautionary measure. However as this is an isolated case there are no wider public health implications.”