Dad, 43, dies of cancer after fundraising campaign to buy his wife and two-year-old son a home before he passed away

A SCHOOL caretaker faced with a race against time to help buy his wife and young son a home after suddenly being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has died.

James Roocroft, 43, who was told he was terminally ill last June, passed away on Monday evening surrounded by wife Emma his parents and sister.

His two-year-old son Archie kissed his daddy “goodnight” shortly before he died.

Widow Emma, 40, said: “James died very peacefully at our home surrounded by his family.

"Archie also got to say goodbye. We are so very grateful to have had the last six months with James since his diagnosis."

She added that Archie has been asking for his “dada”.

“I’ve told Archie that his daddy’s battery stopped working and that there isn’t anything to fix him,” said Emma.

“James was the person who fixed everything for Archie so I’ve told him that way to try and help him understand.”

She posted on Facebook: “James Matthew Roocroft passed away peacefully , surrounded by those who loved him yesterday evening.

“He will be very missed and remembered as a wonderful husband, amazing Dada, dear son, caring brother and very kind and thoughtful friend. You will forever be in all our hearts and we will never forget you. Xxxxx”

James was previously fit and healthy and worked as a site manager for Elm Grove Primary School in Brighton, East Sussex.

He and his family lived in a home which came with the job – meaning that James knew when he passed away, his family would also lose their home.

Friends of the family launched a fundraiser to help the family and a few months ago they moved into a one-bedroom flat in Brighton.

The couple got together five years ago after meeting at a single’s night.

They married on August 11 at the Macmillan Horizon centre.

Just days after Christmas, James paid tribute to his wife on Facebook.

He wrote: “Don’t normally write a post like this but just wanted to thank my amazing little lady a.k.a. My wife. It has been the worst year of our lives.

"I could not have got through it so far without Emma being my rock.

"Don’t know when my time will be up but I couldn’t of done it without her so I just wanted to say thank you. Love you always James xxx"

And speaking to The Sun last summer James said: “I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m going to die, but it’s heartbreaking to not be able to take care of Emma and Archie.

"I thought we were going to grow old together and never thought this would be me.

"I’m just trying to put one foot forward each day and to keep going."

Friend Ben Vaudiaux Lowe, who organised the fundraising efforts, wrote on Tuesday: “One of the last things James said to me was 'Thank you', I truly believe that this was aimed at each and everyone of you who has donated.

"You have all enabled James to pass peacefully without the worry of where his family will live or how they'll survive. Thank you."

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