'This is not the end': Family share moving final letter written by terminally ill man

In the letter, Liam Ashton-Hughes, 30, urges his loved ones "not to be sad" as "this is not the end, only the start of another part of life".

The family of a man who was terminally ill have shared the letter he wrote to them, to help them after his death.

Liam Ashton-Hughes died at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor on Sunday March 14 after a long battle with ill-health.

The 30-year-old from Harlech wrote the touching letter for his loved ones to try and help them cope when he would no longer be around.

His funeral was held on Monday March 29, during which his final message to family and friends was read out by his brother.

In the letter, Mr Ashton-Hughes, said his death "is not the end, only the start of another part of life" and urged his loved ones to "remember the good times, not the bad", with "smiles and laughter".

In the letter, Mr Ashton-Hughes said he "was truly blessed" to have the family he did and he loves them "with all [his]heart".

The message reads: "If you're listening to this then I'm no longer around, please dear family and friends, try not to be sad, this is not the end, only the start of another part of life for me."You all know me to be somewhat of a geek, so remember the words of Yoda: 'death is a natural part of life, mourn them do not, miss them do not, but rejoice when those around you turn into the Force.' That always gave me hope and a good feeling when things were bad."Move on with your lives as normal, if you speak of me, don't do so in hushed tones or mopey faces, do so with smiles and laughter as you did with me in life. Remember the good times, not the bad, and please shares those times and stories with others today and as you go on."Remember those times and hold them dear. They kept me going when things were at their worst and I hope they help you too."Never give in, no matter what you do, never give in. I believe life is a test and the hardship you endure in this life will be rewarded in the next. Always take another step, if that is of no avail then take another and another for in truth, any undertaking can be accomplished by many small steps."To my family, no one could have had a better family than you. I was truly blessed to have such a family. I love you with all my heart, I cannot say more than that."To all my friends, Jason, Lee and Phil, you were more like brothers than friends and I cannot explain how lucky I was to have such mates as you guys."I must leave now, but try not to be sad, you're the best people a guy could know."God bless and may the force be with you always."

Mr Ashton-Hughes was passionate about his volunteer work at Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force (ACF).

The former Ysgol Ardudwy pupil underwent a lung transplant three years ago and contracted viral pneumonia two years later. The virus caused irreparable damage to Mr Ashton-Hughes' lungs and left him terminally ill.While hospitalised, Mr Ashton-Hughes also contracted Covid-19 and although he fought off the virus, his family said it left him with long-term damage. Mr Ashton-Hughes died shortly afterwards.

Following his death, tributes poured on for the "gentle giant" who volunteered with young people at the Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet Force (ACF) for more than ten years.He was active with the ACF until he fell ill and was so dedicated that colleagues said he even worked on his ACF activities from his hospital bed.

His mother, Clare, also posted a moving statement online soon after he died. She said: "Last night my beautiful, big-hearted boy passed away peacefully."We are devastated. Life is cruel and unfair but Liam, you continued in your bravery right until the very end."I was blessed to be with you and for that I am forever thankful. He gave his everything to everyone, was always kind and was the most amazing young man."I cannot imagine a life without him in it, but at least he is at peace. I was blessed to be your mum and it was an honour."Rest easy soldier, fly high and you can breathe easy now."