Yorkshire community raises funds for father whose wife died on wedding night

Mariola and Krzysztof Michalowski on their wedding day with their children Oliver and Veronica.
Mariola and Krzysztof Michalowski on their wedding day with their children Oliver and Veronica.
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A community has rallied round to help a popular father whose new bride died in her sleep on their wedding night.

Hours before Mariola Michalowski, 38, had celebrated her marriage with Krzysztof, known as Kris, in front of their two young children, other family and friends in Richmond, North Yorkshire, last Friday.

The cause of her death was not yet known but she had a history of epilepsy.

Well-wishers set up an online fundraiser to help Mr Michalowski pay for the funeral, after the couple from Catterick Village had saved so hard to afford a wedding.

By Friday afternoon the total donated on the https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/oakdale-kris page had reached more than £9,500.

Mr Michalowski worked for Oakdale (Contracts) in Colburn, Richmondshire, where staff were devastated by his plight.

The Polish national had worked his way up from shop floor to an office role, managing director Michael Jonas said.

The boss, who was at the wedding, set up the online page after colleagues expressed a desire to help after such a tragedy.

Mr Jonas said: “It is the cruellest twist of fate that they were still paying for their wedding and now he has to pay for the funeral.”

The fundraiser passed the original £4,000 target and will now be kept open to help the couple’s two young children.

Mr Jonas had employed Mr Michalowski for 12 years, describing him as a “bright spark” and a “nice lad”.

He added: “He is so well known in the community, everyone knows Polish Kris is a lovely lad.

“People remember his wife as ‘the lady with the lovely smile at the nursery gate’.

“They have really connected with the community.”

People have donated from £2 to £2,000 to help out.

Mr Jonas said: “Each donation demonstrates a little bit of kindness, it is almost like a statement that it’s not so bleak and there are people who care.”

One donor who gave £20 wrote: “I can’t comprehend what you are going through. I am so so sorry for your loss.”

Another said: “Can only begin to imagine the pain you must be feeling at this time. Sending the whole family big hugs.”

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