A FAMILY has been rocked by the death of two key members within the space of three days.

Doug Matthewson snr (79) died on January 14, just days after he lost his only son, Doug jnr (49), on January 11.

They shared a house in Ovingham with Doug jnr’s wife Rachel and 12-year-old son Daniel.

Rachel said: “It has been a massive shock but we have such a big support network of friends and family that you find resilience in that, but I am pretty sure there will be dark times ahead. We have gone from a household of four to just the two of us.

“We have had so many messages and flowers, and Facebook comments and that brings a lot of comfort.”

Doug jnr was brought up in the west end of Newcastle but had friends in Prudhoe, and he met his future wife Rachel around 20 years ago.

They were married at Prudhoe's St Mary Magdalene Church a few years later and had son Daniel together.

Doug jnr worked as a doorman in Newcastle and then as a taxi driver with LA Taxis in the city, and was a long serving boxer at Newcastle's FIT Club for more than two decades.

Rachel said: "I think a lot of the tributes to him are about how he was a gentle giant, and that is exactly what he was.

"He was a massive boxing fan and really big into music, he liked all sorts from hip hop to punk, He really knew a lot about music.

"He was a family man who used to love to come home, and chill and watch the boxing."

Doug snr also grew up in the west end of Newcastle and joined the Coldstream Guards, seeing him serve at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for 10 years.

After he left the army, he joined the Territorial Army and then went on to work as a postal worker until his retirement.

He lived with his wife Pat until her death three years ago, and then moved in with his son's family around 18 months ago.

Rachel said: "He was so proud of his time in the Coldstream Guards, and a very proud soldier.

"The last year and a half was some comfort to him to be a big part of our life.

"It was nice for Daniel to hear about his army life and about his great stories of being in the Coldstream Guards."

As a thank you to the NHS staff who treated both Dougs in the Intensive Care Unit and Ward 49 of Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, a fund-raising page has been created.

To date, more than £2,000 has been raised to split among both wards.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rachel-matthewson.