A mum-of-four died from pancreatic cancer just 12 hours after marrying the love of her life.
Supermarket worker Mary Collins tied the knot with partner of 14 years Steven at their home in Norton, Stoke-on-Trent, before she passed away on May 2.
The 51-year-old’s big day was originally due to take place in July but with her condition quickly deteriorating an emergency wedding was able to be arranged.
She was cremated at Carmountside Crematorium yesterday, reports StokeonTrentLive.
The couple have four children: Jake, Liam and twins Sam and Daniel.
Steven, 48, said: “The wedding was the last piece of the jigsaw for us. She was over the moon that we managed to get it sorted.”
The Christie Hospital informed Steven that Mary had a maximum of three months to live, but in reality it was “a matter of days”, he explained.
When their home nurse Kayleigh visited, he sneaked out to buy Mary’s wedding ring.
“During the ceremony, Mary’s only words were ‘where’s mine?’ – I hadn’t bought her a ring to give to me, because I’d only just had chance to pick up this one!”
Ahead of their special day, Mary had spent five weeks in hospital with the intention of having an operation to have a stent put in her liver as her blood vessels were being crushed by the cancer.
But this was aborted because it was too dangerous and she “just deteriorated from there, and came home in an ambulance”, said Steven.
Mary was determined to go back to work at Tesco and her boss even came to visit her days before she died, but Steven knew “there was no way she could”.
He had been feeding her Rice Krispies and water but by the end of that week she was unable to swallow.
Mary had been diagnosed with the tumour in 2018 following numerous hospital visits in pain.
She’d spent the duration of the pandemic shielding as she was on chemotherapy tablets which lowered her immune system.
Steven said: “She was so determined and was fighting this tumour like anything.
“After the wedding I put her into bed and gave her her medication.
“At 2am she woke me up and I asked if she wanted me to get the nurse, so I called for one. I went back to her to hold her hand, and then she passed away.”
The couple had met at Tesco in Stafford. Steven repaired the delivery vans while Mary had clocked up 35 years service with the company just before her death.
Steven added: “I think Mary noticed me first, and her good friend told me that Mary liked me, and it all went from there really.
“She was desperate to get back to work. She’d worked at Stafford Tesco for 35 years ever since she’d left school. She loved doing the charity work, and made some brilliant friends there.
“The staff were in tears when they found out she’d passed away.
“On the Friday before she passed they did a big collection for her and raised over £500.”
A eulogy read out at Mary’s funeral described her as a ‘social butterfly’ with a beautiful smile.