Damian Lewis’ heartbreaking tribute for wife after her death: ‘Don’t be sad’

Celebrities playing in this year's Soccer Aid are announced

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Damian Lewis will appear on Soccer Aid this weekend as celebrities and ex-players battle it out at the London Stadium. This week, Damian revealed that his late wife Helen McCrory made a loving gesture to him before he played in his first Soccer Aid game. Helen sadly passed away last year, aged 52, after a battle with breast cancer.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, he explained: “When she came to Soccer Aid the very first time, I got into my hotel room up in Manchester at The Lowry, and it was covered in Union Jack bunting and England flags everywhere, which she’d gone out and bought and decorated the room with.

“She’s with us again this year.”

Damian has spoken candidly about Helen in recent months, opening up on the loss as well as paying tribute to her.

He spoke publicly about her death for the first time in January, making a great speech about her life during an evening of poetry dedicated to Helen at the National Theatre.

The show was called A Poet For Every Day Of The Year, and featured readings from Helen’s friends and family.

On the night, Damian said: “This evening is dedicated to her and it’s perfect, because Helen loved the National Theatre. One person whose thunder would absolutely not be stolen.”

The actor read the evening’s final verse, the Irish poet Derek Mahon’s Everything Is Going to Be All Right. It included the lines: “There will be dying, but there is no need to go into that … The sun rises in spite of everything … Everything is going to be all right.”

Damian also shared some moving words two days after Helen’s death in April 2021.

He wrote that “she’s left our beautiful children too early, but they have been prepared for life.”

He added: “She has exhorted us to be courageous and not afraid. As she said repeatedly to the children, ‘Don’t be sad’… Her generosity has extended to encouraging us three to live. Live fully, take opportunities, have adventures.”

Last week, it was announced that Damian is in the Queen’s birthday honours.

The accolade was for services to drama and charity.

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During the Covid crisis, Damian and his late wife co-founded Feed NHS, helping to raise more than £1million to give food from high street restaurants to NHS staff.

After the announcement, Damian said: “What a great honour to be awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to drama and for the charity work that I have carried out over the years and during the pandemic with my late wife, Helen McCrory.

“Thank you very much. She and I are both thrilled.”

Soccer Aid will be played on Sunday 12 June at the London Stadium in aid of Unicef, with kick-off at 7.30pm.

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