Mark Farren: Wife Terri-Louise says naming stand after her husband is a fitting tribute

mark and Terri-louise
Image caption Mark Farren pictured with his wife Terri-Louise in 2015

The wife of former Derry City footballer Mark Farren has said naming a stand at Brandywell stadium in the city after him is a fitting tribute.

The 33-year-old died in February. Farren had been receiving treatment for an aggressive brain tumour.

Derry City Football Club retired the number 18 jersey in tribute and a new stand will also be named after him.

Terri-Louise Farren described Christmas Eve 2008, when Mark was diagnosed, as the moment "the world ended."

"When we drove up in the car, met the doctor and he just said 'there's no easy way of putting this but you've got a brain tumour," she said.

"Everything that the doctor said after that, we didn't even pick up. All we took in was that he had a brain tumour and that was it."

"The following December we got married and it was just normal life for us after that. To me it didn't matter if I only had him for two weeks after my wedding or five years, you're in for the long haul and I couldn't picture not having that."

Image copyright Derry City
Image caption Derry City FC has confirmed that they will retire the number 18 jersey as a tribute to the club's all time leading goal scorer

Farren was part of the successful Derry teams that won the FAI Cup in 2006 and 2012, and was voted player of the year by the Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland in 2005.

Born in Donegal, Farren played for Derry City FC from 2003 to 2012.

He scored 113 goals in 209 appearances becoming the club's all-time leading goal scorer.

Farren was forced into early retirement after his diagnosis in 2008 but returned in 2009 following successful brain surgery.

He broke Liam Coyle's all-time goal scoring record for the club in 2012 shortly before he left the game permanently in 2013.

Image caption A flag was attached to a fence at Brandywell football stadium following Mark's death

'Fought tooth and nail'

Not long after their marriage in 2009, the couple once again faced tragedy after Terri-Louise gave birth to premature triplets.

"They were 23 weeks plus five days when they were born but they were just so tiny.

"We had them for three weeks, they had like a two percent chance of living and we fought tooth and nail with every bone in our body to try and keep them but it wasn't meant to be," she said.

"Mark was the only reason I got through the girls situation and I think the trauma of that is what brought us us closer in the end.

"I used to question my faith everyday. Why me...but it definitely made us stronger as a couple."

Image copyright Derry City

In late February, Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that the new stand at Brandywell stadium would be named in memory of the striker.

"I think he would be absolutely privileged if he was here today," Terri-Louise told BBC Radio Foyle.

"When I chat to people three words that come across is the most humble, gentle down to earth person that we'll you'd ever come across.

"I slowly watched my husband die for a year in front of me. I just hope nobody has to feel something like that," she said.

"I know my life's going to move on at some point and I'm happy that I'm able to move on. I've got to keep fighting and fighting."

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