Jason Watkins has moved his fans after paying a heartfelt tribute to his late daughter Maude on what would have been her birthday. Taking to his Twitter page on Wednesday morning, the actor shared a photo of a lit candle and two more of Maude, who tragically died of sepsis in 2011, aged two.
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In the caption, the heartbroken dad wrote: "I lit a candle this morning, as the sun came up as I set off for work - for my beautiful daughter Maudie who's birthday it is today.
"Always in my thoughts and in my heart forever. I seem to kiss her more and more each year on these days. #HoldingItTogether."
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Fans rushed to offer words of sympathy, with one writing: "That really moved me; I'm so sorry for you. My kids loved you as Gordon Shakespeare. As they've grown into teenagers, your presence in so many superb shows has held their interest and allowed us to enjoy TV as a family. It's hard to see someone who has brightened my life suffer."
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Maude was the actor's second child with wife Clara Francis. She was just two-and-a half when a persistent cough and consequent respiratory problems prompted two visits to a hospital, where she was initially diagnosed with croup.
Jason paid this heartfelt tribute on Wednesday
In a recent mental health podcast for ITV, Britain Get Talking, Jason touched upon his grief and how his other daughter Bessie dealt with the tragic loss. "That was the most difficult thing," he said. "Explaining to her what had happened. I think she knew because she was there, that was the shocking thing, the traumatic thing for her.
"Telling a child, 'Your sister is not coming back' is difficult. You can use euphemisms of heaven and those sort of things. Whatever helps for you is the way to do it," he added.
Jason pictured with his wife Clara Francis
"You have to say that she's not coming back, that's the difficult part. Even now, Bessie's a teenager. And she exhibits typical teenage behaviour. Difficulties and emotional ups and downs. But coupled with that one is always thinking, 'Is this born out of something else?' It's a very difficult place to be that."
He also spoke about how he deals with the loss on a day-to-day basis, telling presenter Kylie Pentelow: "There are days when you just don't want to have to think about it too much. Then of course there are days when there is nothing you can do about it but it just consumes you. It'll just hit you like a train. It could be anything."
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