A grieving husband has spoken publicly for the first time since his wife was murdered by an intruder in their Hemel Hempstead home last year.
Daniel Cross has thanked family, friends and the local community for their ‘outpouring of kindness, support and love’ since his wife Nicola – known as Nikki – was stabbed to death at their home in Dunlin Road on September 14.
Today (May 11) would have been the mother-of-two’s 38th birthday.
Daniel, 39, said: “Firstly, I would like to express the most sincere thanks from myself and on behalf of our children for the outpouring of kindness, support and love from family, friends and the wider community since Nik was taken from us back in September.
“Day to day life is hard enough, but without this support I cannot imagine where we would be as a family right now.”
In the wake of the tragedy, Nikki’s family, friends and the wider community have worked tirelessly to organise a special football match and charity day in her memory.
And on Sunday (May 15), 3,000 people are expected to flock to Hemel Hempstead Football Club in Vauxhall Road for the Nikki Cross Memorial Cup and Family Fun Day.
An incredible 1,000 tickets sold within 48 hours of release, showing just how important the event is to the town.
More than 40 players, including Daniel and many of his friends, will join brothers and local ex-professional football players Tommy and Jack Smith on the day, along with Birmingham City captain Paul Robinson.
There will be plenty for everyone to enjoy including fairground rides, stalls, games, tombolas and charity auctions.
The day will raise money for Child Bereavement UK and Nikki’s Wishes, a fund set up to support Daniel and Nikki’s young son and daughter.
Daniel said: “The event is just four days after Nikki would have turned 38 and has given the whole family, and close group of friends something amazing to focus on in remembrance of our beautiful Nik.
“Personally, I am looking forward to participating in a fun game of football, played in good spirit, with many people I have played football with over the years and remain friends with to this day.
“The whole ethos of the day is about family, friends and fun, as these were the three most important things to Nik.
“I would like to extend my appreciation to Dave Boggins for hosting the event free of charge at Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club.
“Child Bereavement UK was chosen by me as the affiliated charity for the work they do in supporting families who have suffered bereavement of a child or parent.
“One of the patrons of the charity is HRH Prince William and an example I have discussed with my children of someone who lost their mummy at a young age and grew up to be a strong and confident person.
“We hope many families from in and around the area come along and have a great time in Nikki’s name.
“She would be immensely proud to have this day organised in her honour.”
There are still a limited number of tickets available for Sunday’s event, at £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.
These can be bought via the dedicated Facebook page, or by emailing email@example.com
All rides are free and gates open at 11am.