TWO Hampshire dads, united in grief after losing the woman they both loved, are now living together to bring up her children.

Mark Motteram and Steve Cook admit that it is not your usual family set up but for them the most important thing is the happiness of their children as they struggle to cope with the sudden and tragic loss of their devoted mum.

As reported in yesterday’s Daily Echo, a bid to save the life of Anne Motteram and her unborn baby ended in heartbreak after she collapsed at her Southampton home.

The 40-year-old, from Iris Road, was just weeks away from giving birth to her seventh child James when she suffered a fatal heart attack while in bed.

Despite attempts to resuscitate her, Anne never woke up, but doctors fought to save baby James for seven days until he died in his dad’s arms.

Now her husband Mark, who separated from Anne five years ago, and her partner of five years, Steve, have both moved into her home to bring up their children.

Mark had three children with Anne, Luke, 16, Toni, 13 and Ben, eight, and brought up Anne’s two older daughters, Zoe, 24 and Amy, 22, as his own.

After they split Anne had three children with Steve, Billie, who was stillborn four years ago, Catherine, two and James, who died on March 5.

Amy and Zoe no longer live at the family home but the two men decided the best thing to do for the four younger children was to keep them all together under the roof they shared with their mum.

Having already lost their mum, they felt it was important to give the children stability, rather than moving to a new home and splitting them up.

Mark had been lodging at the house on the night that Anne collapsed and it was he who started attempts to resuscitate her.

He was woken just before 7am, on February 26, by twoyear- old Catherine, who had gone into her mum’s room and started crying when she would not wake up.

Mark, 43, said: “People do think it is strange but we have always got on and now it is more important than ever.

“It is a weird situation but the most important thing here is the kids and what is best for them. They have already been through so much so to have this stability is vital.

“Basically it is two dads looking after their children. I treat Catherine like my own and Steve treats mine as if they were his own.

“Anne was a great and caring mum. Her children were everything to her, so we know she would want us to do whatever it took to do what’s best for them.”

Steve added: “It is a bit of a strange situation but we are working together for the children. They have all lost their mum, so they must be our focus.

“Anne did everything for those children so we have had to step into her shoes and share that responsibility.”