A GIFTED young netball player died just three months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Catherine Roberts, from Blackwood, had played netball for Wales and the Celtic Dragons but was travelling with her fiancée Bryony Powell, 27, in New Zealand when she was told she had an aggressive type of tumour.

She was well enough to travel back to Wales, but tragically died on May 23.

“It’s really hard to process what happened and to be without her every day,” Miss Powell said.

“The family is just devastated, we all are. We are trying to get each other through.”

The 27-year-old started suffering from severe headaches at the end of February.

Miss Powell said: “She was very healthy and active so it was not normal for her to have a headache. They thought she was low on iron then a few days later we were on a bike ride and she became really confused. That was the first major sign that something was wrong.”

She returned to the doctor who then told her to go to hospital where Miss Roberts had tests and a CT scan which revealed a lump on her brain.

Miss Powell said: “Where the tumour was located is the personality part of the brain and while in New Zealand she hadn’t cried, and she was quite an emotional person. She just said it was because she was having a great time, in hindsight that was the only symptom she had.”

Surgery followed but she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of cancer that starts in the brain.

Her mum, also called Catherine, flew out to be by her side.

The day after they returned to the UK and Miss Roberts’ condition deteriorated and she wasn’t well enough to have treatment. Two weeks later she died.

“It was tough,” Miss Powell said. “She was such a positive person, we never thought the worst would happen.

“We got engaged and we were inseparable. It is really hard to be without her.”

On September 1 her former players, friends and family gathered at the Cwmbran Stadium to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity which does research and raises awareness of brain tumours.

Vicki Randall, from Cwmbran, was one of the organisers of the event which teams paid to enter.

She said: “Catherine was our coach and she also played for South East Wales. We wanted to something for her and she would have liked a tournament.

“Her family came to watch and presented the trophy.”

The tournament, which raised £1,000 for charity, was also an opportunity to raise awareness of brain tumours.

Miss Powell is urging people to get checked out by a doctor if they feel unwell or notice someone is displaying some symptoms.

She said: “Catherine was fit and healthy, the symptoms were things that people wouldn’t necessarily checked. She was tired, had headaches, confusion and a slight change in personality.”

The family are planning on having a lasting testimony to Miss Roberts and the tournament will return next year.

Ms Randall said: “The tournament, which is now called the Cath Roberts memorial tournament, will be held every year and raise money in her memory.”

More than £3,000 has been raised for the charity in memory of Miss Roberts.

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ballers1.