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Cancer patient who married his fiancée has died 48 hours after wedding

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 22/05/2017 Alex Pesic

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A wife is grieving the loss of her brave husband just 48 hours after they married at a hospice.

A charity organised the wedding of Ray Kershaw, 63, and Tracy Brooks, 45, after Ray, who had been diagnosed with cancer, was told he had just days to live.

The couple from Shawclough tied the knot in front of relatives and friends in an emotional bedside ceremony on Saturday at Springhill Hospice in Rochdale .

The charity behind the marriage, Stalybridge-based Gift of a Wedding, has confirmed that Ray has now sadly passed away.

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Tributes have been paid to Ray and the many strangers who came together to organise the ceremony at short notice.

Gift of a Wedding organises free weddings for terminally-ill grooms or brides-to-be - thanks to the generosity of businesses and individuals who donate their time, clothes, venues, drinks and food for free.

In a message on Facebook, the charity said: “It is with great sadness that we wish to inform you of the passing of Raymond Kershaw, the gentleman who’s emergency wedding we arranged this weekend.

“Raymond, who had cancer, married his partner Tracy in an emotional ceremony on Saturday surrounded by family and friends at a local hospice in Rochdale, Lancashire. We would like to thank all the suppliers who dropped everything to make sure Raymond and Tracy had their special day.”

The post went on to thank all the suppliers - from photographers to nail salon staff.

Facebook posters reacting to the sad news praised the public of Rochdale for rallying round to make the marriage possible.

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fRay and Tracy had hoped to wed in Tenerife next year but were forced to change their plans when Ray was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March. Wedding organisers put out a call for donations for a ceremony originally scheduled to go ahead on June 2.

But as Ray’s condition started to deteriorate, the wedding was brought forward at the last-minute.

Writing on Facebook after news of Ray’s death was confirmed Paula Fitzgerald said: “So very sad. I’m glad Rochdale pulled together quickly to give Raymond and Tracy their special day. Such a shame they couldn’t have longer together. Condolences to Ray’s new wife Tracy and all their family and friends.”

Emma Hoggarth, also on Facebook, added: “So sad to hear the news. Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends.

“Sad you couldn’t be married for longer...but your gift of a wedding came true.”

The hugely-respected charity’s founder, Patricia Harrison, was last year recognised by Prime Minister Theresa May with a special award for her voluntary work.

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