holly-matthews

Waterloo Road star Holly Matthews prepares for first Christmas without late husband Ross

The actress lost her husband to cancer in July

Sharnaz Shahid

Christmas this year will be incredibly difficult for Holly Matthews. The Waterloo Road star is preparing to spend the festive season without her husband, Ross Blair, who passed away in July after a three-year battle with a rare grade four brain tumour. Appearing on Tuesday's Lorraine, the 33-year-old actress revealed how Christmas without her husband will be "much harder". She explained: "It's all about family, and when someone in the family missing it just makes it so much harder. This Christmas we are going to take it as it comes. We are going to me sister-in-law's and we are all going to be together. We are not going to make a huge fuss."

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Holly Matthews has revealed Christmas without her husband will be bittersweet

Despite the pain of losing her husband, Holly admitted that she and the couple's two children - Brooke, six, and Texas, four - will make sure they make the most of the holiday. "The children make it easier as they live in the now and they are not focused on the fact that Ross is not here," the mum-of-two shared. "They're thinking it's Christmas and it's a good thing, they're not thinking that dad is not here." However, Holly went on to explain that New Year will perhaps be most challenging as she traditionally spent that evening alone with Ross. "For me, it will be New Year, it was always just us," she noted. "We always stayed at home and went to bed just before midnight, for me that will be harder."

STORY: Holly Matthews opens up about death of her husband in first TV interview

Holly, who has also starred in Casualty and Doctors, shared her husband's cancer journey on her YouTube channel. Ross, a property developer, was diagnosed with a rare aggressive malignant brain tumour in 2014. At the time he was given a 50-50 chance of surviving five years before undergoing brain surgery and chemotherapy. Shortly after his death, Holly revealed that she turned to Jeff Brazier for advice when it came to talking to her young children. "Obviously his situation was very similar with the boys, and he phoned me and we spoke, and he gave me the confidence to," she said during an appearance on Lorraine.

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STORY: Waterloo Road's Holly Matthews thanks fans for support following husband's death

"It backed up what my intuition was telling me and he said you need to tell them, you must tell them," the star added. "Just like adults, they need to grieve before, they need to say sorry, or I love you, they need to say goodbye. That didn't make it easy, I was terrified to tell them. I felt sick, but I knew that, with brain cancer, because you deteriorate, we might not have got the chance where Ross would act appropriately. So when we did tell them, my six-year-old, as I was starting to say it, she actually went, 'Just say it,' because she knew. And he responded appropriately, he said he loved them and he gave them a cuddle, and even though perhaps he wasn’t connected fully, it was enough."

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