A grieving husband says his “whole heart has been ripped out” after his terminally-ill wife died just five days after their hospital wedding.
David Reader and Amanda Littleton had been due to tie the knot on October 10 and celebrate their 18 years together but after the 58-year-old was diagnosed with terminal cancer they brought their wedding forward.
And couple from Cheddleton in Staffordshire – who met online in 2003 and moved in together the following year – were forever grateful that they became husband and wife at the Royal Stoke University Hospital on September 24.
Now David has led tributes to his wife and a private funeral has still to be arranged, StokeOnTrent Live reports.
The 54-year-old said: “We were destroyed when she got the diagnosis. She had been telling her GP since last year that there was something wrong and they kept prescribing her a hormone treatment.
“In February she had a continuous cough which was making her throw up. The first time she got in to see the doctors they said she had a chest infection and gave her antibiotics.
“In the last seven months she has had a face-to-face consultation four times and none of them picked up she had cancer. She must have lost about five stone in weight in six months.
“It was not until the end of July when they gave her a blood test and scan that they found out she was really poorly.”
Amanda was diagnosed with terminal cancer in her kidneys, bowel, ovaries and stomach lining after having blood tests and a scan.
Staff at the hospital’s emergency department arranged for David and Amanda to get married in the hospital – due to her poor health.
The couple were surrounded by their family – including Amanda’s daughter, Carla, and two grandchildren – as they read their vows.
Sadly, Amanda – who worked as a unit manager in a care home – lost her cancer fight and died on September 29.
David added: “It was a difficult day. She was in tears at times. The staff in that unit were fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding. They did everything in a matter of hours and really did look after us. I can’t thank them enough.
“We always said we would wait to get married because we both had bad relationships prior to getting together. When she came out from having a stoma operation, one of the nurses had a chat with us and asked us if we were married and we told her we were not and that she wanted to.
“We got all the dresses and invited family and friends for October 10 but she never made it. It should have been a big proper wedding but circumstances dictated we couldn’t do it so we did it in the hospital.”
He added: “She died in my arms. It was the worst day of my life. I will miss so much about her. She was witty, caring and loving. She always looked after me and gave me the best 18 years of my life.
“She was brilliant. She said it how she saw it and she is one of those women who was strong and independent. She loved her family and grandchildren.
“I loved everything about her. The first day we met I came up to Stoke-on-Trent and we met by the Potteries; I knew then that I didn’t want to leave her.
“My whole heart has been ripped out now she is gone. She was my best friend and soulmate.
“We want to thank everybody who has shown concern and thank the hospital for sorting the wedding out for us.”