Loving tributes have been paid to a beloved father and husband whose funeral brought Stamford to a standstill.
Nick Bryan, 49, was out running with his wife Ella on July 16 when he suffered a heart attack in Sydney Farm Lane, not far from his home.
Despite heroic efforts to save him from passers by, Nick sadly died. He was a well-known figure in his hometown and hundreds turned up to pay their respects at his funeral at St Mary and St Augustine’s Catholic Church on August 3. Crowds spilled out into Broad Street and the road had to be closed during the service.
The impact of Nick’s death meant wife Ella and sister Cathy Young have only this week been able to pay tribute to a hard-working man who always put his family first.
Ella, who fell in love with her future husband as soon as she met him in the former Oliver’s nightclub in Stamford, aged 18, said Nick was her best friend.
“Devastated isn’t a word that comes close. It feels like my insides have been ripped out, stamped upon and shoved back in again,” said Ella.
“Part of me most definitely died with him,” she added. “Each day is a struggle and our lives will never be the same without him.”
Nick was born in Stamford and went to school in the town before spending five years with a travelling fair. When he returned he met Ella and the couple had two sons, Jack and Lewis, before marrying in 1999. They had two more sons, Oliver and Nick.
His love for his family was clear. Ella said: “He was a family man through and through, especially with the younger boys. It was so important to him.
“He was a full-on husband; a modern man. I was spoiled. He did the cooking when he got home from work. He would sit with the kids and chat away all evening.”
Cathy, who always had a strong bond with her brother, said Nick matured quickly when he became a father.
“He grew into family during his marriage. He was 27 when the first boy was born and he wasn’t a very grown-up 27-year-old. But he was a very mature 40-year-old.”
Nick was a big Manchester United fan and had a huge tattoo to mark the 1999 treble-winning season. He was heavily involved with Stamford Belvedere football club and would often take his sons to watch. He was a keen runner and would always encourage others to keep fit - including his wife, who went running with him regularly.
“He was very fit and strong,” said Ella. “He loved his running and he would go out of his way to help others. He helped our neighbours get ready for a marathon. He was so supportive.”
Nick worked at Cummins Generator Technologies for about 20 years before his death.
Ella, Cathy and the rest of their family have been overwhelmed by the support they have received.
Ella still has a huge box of unopened cards she has yet to find time to read, and she was inundated with visits and well wishes for weeks. And the number of people who turned up to the funeral was a huge surprise.
“We just want to thank everyone,” said Ella, with Cathy adding: “I told the boys they needed to have a good look around and hold onto the memory. That’s how well-liked he was.”
Nick’s friends and family plan to honour his memory with a series of runs and endurance challenges over the coming months.