A husband and father has movingly told of his desperate wish for the body of his deceased wife to be returned to the UK for her funeral.

Joel Cachero, 48, from Enfield, lost his wife of 20 years and the mother of their four children, Leonila Cachero on March 28 to an aggressive breast cancer she had battled for four years.

Leonila was 51.

In a ‘last bid’ attempt to save her life, Leonila, also known as “Annie”, travelled to her home country of the Philippines in January this year to seek further medical help when the cancer spread to her lymph nodes.

Her body is being held at a morgue in the Philippines until adequate funds are raised to bring her to the UK.

Her closest friend, Ms Subashini Mahesh said Leonila had ‘lost faith in all allopathic treatment’ including the chemotherapy she received at North Middlesex Hospital.

Subashini added: “Annie was a fighter and would try anything to hold on to her life for her children. This was her last bid.”

Joel, who is from Dagupan City in the Philippines met his wife at St Matthew’s Christian Church in Bayswater, in 1989 where he was a sound technician.

Leonila, who was born in Mangaldan, was a midwife and singer in the church choir. They fell in love and married June, 1998. Together they had four children, Rhy, 19, Leah, 15, Jethro, 13, and Sarah, 11.

Joel recalled his happiest moments with his wife were being together in their morning prayers. He said: “We would sing and play the piano. (Annie) was a brilliant singer. We are all singers in the family. But now we are one short of the melody.”

Subashini, who works at Firs Farm Primary School in Palmers Green where some of Leonila’s children attend, set up a crowd fund to raise money to bring Leonila home from the Philippines. The target is £7,000.

Joel admitted it would be closer to £10,000 but that he did not want to “ask for money”.

He said: “Processing of documents has been so difficult, and it would cost £5,000 just to travel to see her.”

Of the children, Joel said: “I don’t know what to say about that. They want to see their mother for the last time.

“I don’t want the money, just the help to bring her back. I want a professional person to help me and help with the children’s education.

“My focus is the children. I want her to be buried here.”

Joel said (Annie) was ‘greatly loved’ and would be ‘greatly missed’ by her friends at Westminster Chapel where she taught singing, adding: “She was amazing with the children.”