Friends and family pay tribute to much-loved Walsall family man

Tributes to NHS worker Mark Rainer, who passed away early this month from a rare form of cancer, have flooded in.

Mark Rainer with his son, Josh

The 46-year-old family man from Walsall was a devoted public servant when he was diagnosed with Pericardial Sarcoma in 2022. Mark lost the battle with his illness when he passed away peacefully on 2 January with his partner by his side. 

Mark was known as a very supportive colleague, having worked for the NHS for over 20 years, most recently as a Senior Pharmacy Assistant for the Trust at Walsall Manor Hospital.

Outside of his professional commitments, Mark proved to be a devoted partner to Nikki and a caring father to his 15-year-old son, Josh, as well as to his 8-year-old stepson, Wilton. He was widely recognised as a gentleman with a wonderful sense of humour.

Mark was also a devoted fan of Walsall F.C., and both the club and its fans paid tribute to his life with a minute’s applause at the third-round FA Cup tie in Southampton.

Walsall fan goes on 16-hour hike to raise money

One Walsall fan went even further to help raise money for Cancer Research in Mark’s memory. 32-year-old Josh Piddock embarked on a gruelling 48-mile walk that took him to six football stadiums: Coventry City, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich, Wolves, and Walsall.

Starting at Coventry City’s stadium, he walked for 16 hours through the night, visiting the home grounds of Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Walsall.

Fundraiser arrives at The Poundland Stadium to a warm welcome

Smashing his initial target of raising £500, Josh told Pioneer Magazines: ‘I was inspired to raise money for cancer research after seeing all the messages on social media about how kind Mark was and how sorely he will be missed. It was clear that Mark was one of the good guys who had been taken away too soon.’

A separate GoFundMe campaign also raised over £5,000 to establish a trust fund for Mark’s son.

Both campaigns are still open for donations: