A devastated family has paid tribute to their “little iron man whose smile could melt the coldest of hearts” after he died suddenly at just three years old.
Finlay Jason Pilkington was taken ill on Wednesday, August 20th, and rushed to Leeds General Infirmary but he died the following day. Dad Jay (34) said Finlay, who was born 13 weeks premature in June 2011, died from a perforated bowel.
The youngster had spent the first months of his life in hospital, undergoing three operations before he was six months old.
But his family said he had appeared to bounce back from his difficult start in life and did not seem to have any recent health problems.
Finlay lived in Leeds with Jay, mum Lauren (29), who is originally from Padiham, sisters Ashleigh (12) and Phoebe (5) and brother Mason (8).
Jay said: “I nicknamed him my little iron man because he had been through so much when he was a baby but this was a complete bolt out of the blue.
“Finlay was a live wire with a smile that could melt the coldest of hearts. He had a mischievous grin and you couldn’t help but smile at him.
“He was loving, vocal, full of energy and life. When he was tired he would love to sit on your knee and stroke your chin.”
Finlay liked to watch Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom on television and his dad said he liked any toys which made a noise, like drums and xylophones.
Jay said he had a special bond with his great-grandad, who died recently, and his big sister Ashleigh who helped to look after him.
“He was only three but he was a people person and was very loving. He soon weighed you up and if he liked you, he’d give out cuddles and everything else.
“He was a little hero in his own right.”
Lauren’s parents Mr and Mrs John and Ann Pilkington livin in Cumbrian Way, Burnley along with her siblings and the family is planning a move back to the town.
Finlay’s funeral will take place tomorrow at Burnley Crematorium and the family is asking that any donations be made to the neo-natal unit at Leeds General Infirmary care of Alderson and Horan funeral directors.