THE widow of a much-loved grandfather and popular figure in his community paid a moving tribute to him at the sentencing of the man who killed him.

Pamela Partridge read out a victim impact statement before drink driver Matthew Clemo, 51, was jailed for eight years over the death of Michael Partridge.

The defendant admitted causing the death by dangerous driving of the 76-year-old while the victim was cycling in Bedwas, Caerphilly, last summer.

Mr Partridge, from Bedwas, was a former committee member and steward at Bedwas RFC and sang with Aber Valley Male Voice Choir and Caerphilly Male Voice Choir.

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He was also a devoted family man who adored his wife, children Claire and Daniel and his grandchildren.

Mrs Partridge told Cardiff Crown Court: “I first met Mike a few days before my 16th birthday and before his 17th.

“There was an instant attraction and although I was still at school, he was already working as a painter and decorator.

South Wales Argus:

Matthew Clemo

“We courted for five years before we got married in 1967.

“He was a happy, loving, caring man and later when we started a family, he became a loving dad to our daughter Claire and our son Daniel.

“We were married for 54 years, celebrating our anniversary just two days before his death.

Mike was my soulmate, my friend and my love

“I now keep his card by my bedside and pressed some flowers from the bouquet he bought me for our anniversary as they are the last one I shall receive from him.

“Throughout the years we had a good strong marriage, enjoying family life and facing trials and tribulations together.

“We always supported one another through good times and bad.

“Mike loved his daughter Claire and son Daniel dearly and his four grandchildren were very precious to him.

“He was a funny, playful grandfather who could make the children happy and there would be lots of laughter when he was with them.

“Mike loved life and was always optimistic in the face of adversity. It was a quality that became a wonderful support to all of us.

“He always did the family’s DIY.

"Painting and decorating was his trade but he was capable of many other DIY tasks.

“We just don’t know how we are going to face doing them without him.

“Mike loved life and after retiring he took up pastimes like cycling and walking to keep himself fit and healthy.

“We often rode our bicycles together. I have not been able to ride mine since he died.

“On the day he was killed, he was cycling to meet me along with the three youngest grandchildren, aged six, five and three, in Machen Park.

“He was late and I wondered where he was as I knew he would to be with me and the children as he enjoyed it so much.

“He had a very good singing voice.

“Mike had been a chorister in two male voice choirs, Aber Valley and Caerphilly, for over 35 years and he’d also been a committee member and steward of Bedwas Rugby Club.

“He was hard-working, always willing to help others.

“I miss him so much. It physically and mentally hurts as I don’t know what I’m going to do on my own.

“I have my family and grandchildren but they are hurting so much that I keep telling myself that I have to be strong for them.

“I carry him in my heart but I feel so vulnerable now, unsafe and lost without him by my side.

“Mike was my soulmate, my friend and my love.”