THE family of a much-loved Faifley man who passed away with motor neurone disease (MND) at the age of 37 say they have been left devastated by their loss.

Christopher Fitzsimmons was described as “the life and soul of the party”, and “just loving life”.

He is survived by his daughter Demi, aged 12.

The chef was diagnosed with the terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles, in October 2019, and was told the following month that he only had one year left to live.

But on the morning of June 8, Christopher passed away in hospital with his family by his side.

His big cousin Kirsty Fitzsimmons, 37, told the Post: “Motor neurone disease stripped him of his full life.

“At the end of his journey, all he could do was talk. He was bed bound.

“It stripped him of every last thing he had, apart from his speech, and even at that, he was struggling to breathe.

“He took unwell on the Sunday night and was taken into hospital by ambulance and he died there on the Monday morning, but other than that he was at home the full time.

“He was larger than life, loved to party, and he was witty right to the end.”

Christopher will be getting cremated in his chef’s uniform, in a tribute to how much he loved his job.

Kirsty added: “He worked all over the country in five-star hotels, it was his pride and joy.

“He was really good at what he did, and is going to get cremated in his whites.

“It was when he was working that he realised something was wrong – he worked in the kitchen for years but started struggling to lift pots, so he knew something wasn’t right.

“He was going back and forward to the doctor, and he went to the hospital at the end of September, and at the start of October he was diagnosed.

“It was soul destroying when we got told. We were all absolutely broken – Christopher was stronger than all of us.

“He had already dealt with it a lot longer, as he had done a lot of research, and told us months before he was actually diagnosed that he had it, so he had processed it a bit longer.

“He went right downhill very fast. The day he was diagnosed, he was already locked in from his arms – he couldn’t move.

“Every day, there was something else he couldn’t do. Some days he would be great and others he’d have a down day.”

Kirsty and her family are hoping to raise awareness of the disease to help find a cure, and to give something back to the charity that helped Christopher and his loved ones through his journey.

She said: “MND Scotland helped the family and Christopher a lot through the hard times, so it’s time to give back to them. They’ve been great, we just needed to pick up the phone and they would help with anything.”

Christopher grew up in Faifley, along with Kirsty, and lived there until he passed away.

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His funeral will take place on June 18, leaving from Langfaulds Crescent at 11.10am and going down Faifley Road. Only 10 people will be allowed to attend the funeral due to the coronavirus pandemic, but people will be able to pay their respects along the route.

Kirsty added: “He was known as a Faifley legend. He has lots of friends, not just in Faifley, but all over.

“Me and him were so close, we were more like brother and sister – we went through nursery, primary and high school together.

“Christopher told us he didn’t want tears at his funeral and I told him ‘I can’t promise you that but I promise we’ll party afterwards for you’.”

To donate to MND Scotland in memory of Christopher, click here