Simon Thomas has been forced to defend himself after being attacked on Twitter for grieving his wife Gemma in public. Gemma passed away in November from leukaemia, just three days after she was diagnosed with the disease. And Simon has since bravely spoken about his loss on social media and TV, sharing the devastating effect it has had on both him and the couple's eight-year-old son Ethan. This week, however, the 45-year-old came under fire from one Twitter user, who questioned his decision to speak so publicly about his grief.
Simon Thomas pictured with his late wife Gemma and their son Ethan
"Count your blessings – children in war torn countries (Syria) lose both parents, their home and have no support. It's a fact of life. Be thankful for small mercies Simon, Life is precious for all of us. Wishing you well," the follower wrote. In response, the Sky Sports presenter replied: "Don’t think you'll find anywhere that I have made out my grief is unique or more than anyone else's. My wife was running a Syrian refugee project when she died so I know the pain of the people of that country. My boy has no mum anymore – that is painful full stop!"
The user then hit back again, writing: "I would like to ask Simon, if the support from people who know you, yet you don’t know gives you strength? Is social media a tonic? I am just pointing out that thousands experience your pain every day without the benefit of being well known. Those whose grief is unnoticed."
Simon has spoken openly about the devastating impact Gemma's death has had on the family
Simon replied: "You sir are either just very ignorant or a wind up merchant. Either way I don't need to read any more of your insensitive twaddle." Referring to the user's Twitter handle, Normal for Norfolk, he added: "Do come and say hello at the next Norwich match. I'd love to have a chat."
Simon, who reduced Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to tears during his appearance on This Morning this week, was quickly applauded by fans for his calm and measured and response to the exchange. "Complete and utter tosh from someone hiding behind social media," one wrote. "You're doing brilliantly; championing parents going through grief AND being a dad." A second added: "Waste no time on him and just concentrate on you, your son and the good you're doing." A third commented: "I lost my wife 11 years ago to cancer. My son was just 7 years old at the time. We all need help in times like that. The help wasn’t there when I needed it. I for one am pleased that you can speak out about how you feel. Keep going Simon, you're doing great."