A mum who wed on a Leeds hospital ward had just six days of married life before she lost her fight against a serious illness.
Donna Wheatley died the day the YEP reported on her emotional bedside wedding to her fiance of 12 years, Paul.
Now he has paid tribute to the 37-year-old, also mum to nine-year-old Kian, who worked for Leeds City Council.
Paul said his heart was “broken”: “She was very popular at work and she never had a bad word to say about anyone. She was always bright and bubbly.”
The couple married on a ward at Leeds General Infirmary last month, where Donna was very ill.
She had been in hospital almost continuously since Christmas, suffering from serious complications caused by diabetes.
The couple had talked of marriage but hadn’t set a date so Paul, from Bramley, Leeds, asked ward staff if it could be arranged.
In less than 24 hours, Paul and the medical team, along with family and friends organised the ceremony, ensuring they had the marriage licence, outfits, a cake, flowers, catering and the rings. Their nine-year-old son Kian was the best man.
Following the wedding, his wife was moved to the high dependency unit at St James’s Hospital but lost her fight a few days later.
“The day the story about our wedding was published, we were all excited,” Paul said.
“About 6pm she got worse and started sleeping, and at 10.30pm she just drifted off with her mum and me at her side.”
But Paul said it meant so much that they had got married.
“It just gave added meaning to our time together,” he said.
He also thanked the lead singer from Brighouse band Embrace, which Donna was a big fan of. Paul had contacted Danny McNamara, who called her while she was in hospital and had planned to visit.
* The couple’s son Kian is to take part in the Leeds Mini and Junior Run on Sunday in memory of his mum. Visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Wheatley4.
For information on diabetes, log on to www.diabetes.org.uk