A widow has spoken out about the pain of losing her husband at the age of 34.

Mark Knapp died in February after suffering a ruptured aorta (the body’s main artery).

Following three days of feeling unwell, Mark was in hospital when his wife and children, Casey, now five, and Parker, two, went to visit him.

They had been there for just 10 minutes when he had a cardiac arrest.

He died in Southmead Hospital, Bristol, the workplace of wife Keri, who is a palliative care nurse.

“For the first couple of months it physically hurts you,” she said.

Keri’s mother Karen Vizard added: “The shock of the events of that day is indescribable.

“My overriding memory is the image of our daughter walking away towards to door of the hospital holding the hand of each child.

“They went to visit daddy and left without one.”

Keri returned to work just three days after Mark’s death.

“I didn’t want it to be forever the place where he died,” she said.

“I have sat by hundreds of people and tried to understand and help them, but now I really do.

“It has made me better at my job.”

Keri and Karen have now launched a charity, Made a Mark, to offer support to children who lose a family member.

“I know a lot of the people who tried to save Mark,” said Keri.

“The care he received was second to none but there wasn’t any guidance or support for the kids.

“I am in a very lucky position in terms of having my family around me.

“There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t so fortunate.

“The support for the kids at the hospital just wasn’t there. I want to be able to make that available for other families.”

Keri wants to create memory boxes for bereaved children, building on an existing scheme already running in a hospital in Poole.

The box will contain mementos such as a handprint, lock of hair or even a note from the person who has died. There will also be books to explain to the family how to talk to the bereaved child.

A pair of knitted teddy bears will also be included, one for the child to leave with the person who had died and one to take home to create a lasting link between them.

Keri also wants to provide short breaks for bereaved families to share time together and adjust to the changes the death will bring, having benefitted from time away with her own family following Mark’s death.

“He did a lot of a good and I don’t want that to stop just because he’s not here,” she added.

Keri wants to rent a static caravan or holiday home to enable these trips.

There are two fundraising events planned before the end of the year.

At 10.30am on Saturday, October 13, a coffee morning will be held at Morton Farm, Thornbury. Coffee and cake will be available.

On Wednesday, December 5, also at 10.30am, another event will be held Alveston Methodist Church. Christmas gifts and table decorations will be available to buy and there will also be cake and coffee.

For more information visit madeamarkcharity.com.