THE heartbroken family of Widnes pub landlord Christian Thornton have paid tribute to him.

Hammer and Pincers landlord Mr Thornton, 49, died from stab wounds after an incident outside his Liverpool Road on the afternoon of Sunday, August 11.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of all involved, Mr Thornton died at the scene.

His wife Pam lead the family tributes, she said: “I met you 24 years ago, at the Hammer and Pincers, and my life changed.

"Within a year we had bought a house and got engaged. The following year we got married in the Lake District, as it was our favourite place to be. That was one of the happiest days of my life, to become your wife.

“Your dream was to run your own pub and together we made that dream come true. Just before we moved into our first pub, we discovered that I was expecting Charlie. You were overjoyed and even more protective of me than ever.

“You then became a Dad and you were so proud. Tia was born 2 years later and when we came back to run the Hammer and Pincers, the pub you loved, Saul was born to complete our family.

“Our children were everything to you, you got so emotional when you watched the girls dance and were the most supportive rugby Dad ever to Saul and his team.

“Running our pub was not a job to you, it was a way of life. We had great times and challenging times but you always said, we could get through anything as long as we were all together, you were right, we did.

“You have so many friends, some affectionately knew you as ‘Tigger’ due to your uncanny facial resemblance. I know you would be amazed at the outpouring of love, support and generosity that there has been since you were taken from us so needlessly and cruelly.

“We will all miss your ‘shit shirts’, your infectious personality and your kindness.

"Nothing was ever too much trouble, if you could help anyone, you would. Helping local charities if you could was a just given.

“We worked together, running our pub and raising our beautiful children, planning our future which I now have to face alone without you by my side.

“My last hours with you are now so precious.

"You held me in your arms and told me you loved me, before going to work for what should have been a normal Sunday.

“Your children and I will love you eternally, and I will do my best to continue to make you proud of us all knowing you will be watching over us always.

“Sleep softly my love, I will love you always and forever.”

Mr Thornton's three sisters Michelle, Bernadette, Addrienne and brother Anton paid tribute to their funny and hardworking brother.

They said: "Our Christian was our brother. He was funny always up for a laugh. Always had a smile for you.

“He was a great brother, always there if you wanted help. He was a kind, the most hardworking man we knew.

"He always greeted us with a big kiss and a hug. Always said goodbye with a big kiss, big hug and I love you.

“Christian you were taken away from us so cruelly and needlessly.

"We are utterly devastated by your death, we will never be the same again without you in our lives. Our family chain is broken forever.

“We will love and miss you Christian, forever and a day. Rest in peace baby brother until we meet again.”