THE family of a father-to-be who died from injuries sustained in a motorbike crash 12 hours before his son was born say they will never replace what they have lost.
Michael Coray, aged 25, from Orford, died at Royal Aintree Hospital at 3.30am on Saturday after being airlifted with severe head injuries following a crash on Poplars Avenue three days earlier.
Son Kylan Zane Michael Coray, a name chosen by his dad, was born at 3.34pm at Warrington Hospital.
Family say they are struggling to come to terms with the heartbreak, but that both Kylan and mum Gemma-Louise Dunne, aged 29, from Orford, are healthy.
Gemma said: “My loving partner will live on in our son.
“The day I gave birth to our baby we thought it would be the most amazing day of our lives.
“Mike was so excited to be a daddy, but that was sadly taken away from us.
“I know he would have made a great dad because he was already an amazing dad to our other children, he took them as his own.
“He was the most loving and caring partner anyone could ask for.
“He had so much to look forward to.
“Sweet dreams, angel.”
The couple had been together nearly three years, with the fun-loving former William Beamont High School pupil acting as dad to Gemma's sons Bradley, aged 8, and Jayden, aged 7, and dog Bruno.
Mum Yvonne held his hand in hospital, where Mike, also known by the surname Murray and nickname 'Muz', died surrounded by family.
Yvonne and dad Nigel said: “Our beautiful son Michael, we have no words to describe how we're feeling.
“He made us laugh, he made us cry, but most of all, he made us happy.
“We used to look at you and we would be so proud of you.
“He was so happy when he found out Gemma was pregnant, he couldn't stop smiling.
“He would have been a fantastic dad to his little boy.
“We love him with all our heart.
“He has left a huge gap that will never be filled.”
Michelle Coulson, aged 32, of Poplars Avenue, Orford, is Mike's cousin but says the pair were 'like brother and sister'.
She described the motorbike lover, who could fix cars aged 12, as a 'loveable rogue', a 'gorgeous' personality with a 'big heart'.
Close since they were children, Michelle took Mike on his first night out in Warrington, and laughed together on family holidays to Lanzarote, Portugal and Wales.
Michelle witnessed the aftermath of the crash and sat with the former St Margaret's Primary School pupil, a welder by trade, as emergency crews arrived.
She said: “He was a cheeky chappy, like a little Del Boy, always wheeling and dealing.
“He had the biggest heart, everyone adored him, he would do anything for anyone.
“I'll miss having him around, his phone calls, him needing me.
“Anywhere I went I'd know I'd see him on his bike, beep and wave.
“And I'll miss his lovely smile.
“My heart will always be broken.”
The family also thanked medical crews at the scene and staff at Aintree Hospital for their 'brilliant' care of Mike.
Stephanie Coray, aged 15, is Mike's sister.
She said: “My brother, someone who hides my toys and breaks my dolls, but picks me up whenever I fall, someone who stands by my side and holds my hand.
"When things didn't go well he helped me understand, someone who'd make funny faces to see how I'd react.
“I love you Mike, you were such a good brother.
“Your son will make you so proud, you were loved by so many people.”
Nan and grandad Dot and Jo Murray said: “Deep in our hearts your memory was kept, we who loved you will never forget.”
Sister Nicola Coray, aged 36, said: “The biggest part of my heart has been lost, my baby brother taken too young.
“He was a special, kind hearted man, a cheeky chappy who will be missed forever.”
Nan and granddad Rose and Brian Buckley said: “He was our loved grandson and will be sadly missed.”
Best friend Tom Keane said: “I'm absolutely gutted. He was a top lad with a good heart.
“He had a lot of friends around here and I'm speaking on behalf of all of them.
“I can honestly say we are devastated.”
The funeral of Michael Coray takes place at St Andrew's Church, Orford, at 11am on April 29. Family have asked for donations to Aintree Hospital's critical care unit, instead of flowers.
Cheshire Police are investigating the collision on Wednesday, April 9, which also involved a black Ford Focus. Anyone with information can call police on 101.
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