Widower Simon Thomas reveals new girlfriend - and claims she made him a special pillow from his dead wife's skirt
12 February 2019, 12:56 | Updated: 12 February 2019, 14:55
Simon Thomas' wife Gemma died of cancer in November 2017
Simon Thomas has revealed the identity of his rumoured-new girlfriend, and posted a touching photo of a pillow she made out of his late wife's skirt that she gave him for his birthday.
The former Sky Sports presenter shared a picture of the gift - which was a joint present from her and his son Ethan - and tagged Derrina Jebb, 27, in that post - indicating that she is the new woman in his life.
He described the cushion as his 'absolute favourite birthday present ever', adding: "was this from my boy (with a bit of help from @derrina ) A cushion made from two of Gemma’s skirts and made by the brilliant @3tothreadTarah thank you so much."
And the company who made the cushion also posted: "I can finally reveal my favourite cushion to date.
"Love everything about this cushion. Made for Simon from his little boy Ethan (with the help of Derrina) for his birthday in January."
Speaking about his new girlfriend in an interview last year, Simon said: "I’m very aware she was someone I didn’t know before and have got to know over the last few weeks and months.
"Right from the early stages – she had this empathy towards me. She’s Christian as well and that’s important to me as a man of faith.
"She’s been an incredible support for me. She was the only person who would always pick up the phone.
"What I saw in her, I saw in Gemma. When she said my phone is always on, she meant it."
Gemma Thomas died in November 2017 after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia aged 40.
Simon started a blog called A Grief Shared, in which he opened up about his concerns about helping Ethan through the grieving process.
He wrote: "The question on my mind was how on earth do I help him through this?"Saying it’s going to be OK (even though I believe one day it will be) seemed hopelessly inadequate – all I could think to do was to keep telling him time and time again that I loved him and how proud I was of him.
"Though it was impossibly hard to say, I told him how much mummy loved him, and how utterly proud she always was of him and how proud she would be now. I whispered in his ear how brave he’s been.
"I whispered how many family and friends love him and are cheering him on, even people he doesn’t know."I told him how amazingly strong he’s been and I kept on telling him that together, we will get through this.
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Saw a brilliant post today by @onefitwidow about bringing up kids after loss. If you don’t follow her and have been through something similar she is well worth a follow. I can just about cope with my own grief, I can just about deal with my own pain but the biggest agony of all is the agony I feel for my boy. Last night I watched him fall asleep on the sofa, as I picked him up and carried him to bed all I could think about was this young, innocent life now having to navigate the rest of his life - the highs, the lows, the challenges and the big life milestones without his mum by his side. As his Dad the single hardest part to accept is I can do precisely nothing to change this. What he wants more than anything is the impossible. Even God, on the day she died was unwilling to change this. For any parent we would do anything for our children and most of all we want to wrap them up in love and protect them. Death rips this to shreds. Every day, whether at the school gate, with family or friends he is presented with the same tough reality - his friends and family all have the one thing he has had taken from him, his Mum. For all single parents facing this Christmas alone, I salute you, it’s a tough tough path to walk.
"Eventually the sobs began to quieten, the tears began to dry, and before long I had brought a small smile back to his face and the hint of a laugh as I trotted out one of Daddy’s repertoire of silly voices.