James Bulger’s mum Denise: I told Stuart 25 years ago he could walk away – he was taking a lot on

Denise Fergus has opened up about her relationship with husband Stuart, admitting that when she first met him she told him that he “had an opportunity to walk away”.

Denise, who is the mother of James Bulger, has spent decades fighting for justice for her son after he was led away from her and murdered by two 10-year-old boys in 1993. Three decades on, Denise has reached a level of acceptance about what she and her family have gone through.

“I feel the happiest I have been for some time and that’s been the case for a while,” she told OK! . “I am living the life I should have lived all those years ago when I was young; a life that was taken away from me.

“There are so many more positives now, with our three sons and granddaughter; we can sit back and watch them live their lives; get married, have kids. It’s their turn now. Life is an enormous learning curve but here we are – just Denise and Stuart. Renewing our vows was a way of marking that.”

With Denise and Stuart celebrating their milestone wedding anniversary, Denise knew the time was right to celebrate 25 years of being married to the man she adores and who is “always at her side”.

“Things just clicked into place; the time was right for me emotionally,” she said. “The years have gone in a flash but so much has happened and we’ve been through so much together.

“At the time we met I told Stuart that if he took me on he would take a lot of other stuff on as well. I told him he had an opportunity to walk away from that; from me. But he didn’t.

“I don’t think I would have been able to do what I have on my own. He’s the one that keeps me together.”

Stuart is someone with a ready joke and a calm, easy manner. He steers the James Bulger Memorial Trust, set up in memory of James to support young people who are disadvantaged due to a bereavement or a victim of crime, hatred or bullying – as well as to reward those who have made a positive impact on others or society in general.

And Stuart clearly adores his wife too. “If you want to see the definition of a fighter, take a look at Denise,” he said.

“People see her on the TV as this determined woman fighting for justice, but behind closed doors we get to see her laugh and smile and be a loving mum and wife; we’re the lucky ones.”

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