THE young sons of a brave Chester mum who lost her battle with cancer have handed over a cheque to an animal shelter in her memory.

Nicola Hitchen, 42, passed away with her family at her side at their home in Great Boughton, Chester, on March 12.

Her story had gone global after Clare Hitchen, the wife of her ex-husband Andy, led a campaign to raise money for pioneering chemotherapy treatment in Turkey.

On Monday (April 9) Nicola’s sons Joseph, 14, and Jacob, 13, handed over £530 to Capricorn Animal Rescue near Mold.

Of this, £155 was raised by Nicola’s stepfather Bruce and his colleagues at Porvair in Wrexham.

The rest was donated by mourners at her funeral, which took place at the United Reformed Church in Vicars Cross.

On behalf of the family, Nicola’s mum Helena said: “Nicola always had rescued animals and for a while she looked after three cats with 10 legs amongst them! They all thrived under her care so much so that the old abandoned lab who was dumped outside a shop at Vicars Cross has outlived her. She was told she’d be lucky to get 12 months out of him.

“She was passionate about animals especially those in most need. She would have wanted them to benefit and Capricorn was well known to her. We thought it a fitting tribute for the boys to present this on behalf of their mother.”

Helena added: “All through this difficult journey we’ve been amazed at the kindness and support shown for Nicola and her family.

“Please accept our sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed in any way. We have been humbled by your support.”