A bride-to-be has told of how her mother who had cancer secretly paid for her daughter’s wedding before she died.
Sam from Burnley, Lancashire, says her mother Sylvia Sturdy paid more than £2,000 to give her daughter the perfect wedding.
Sylvia lost her battle with lung cancer in August 2020 age 66.
Her final gift for her daughter was to secretly pay for her wedding dress, bridesmaids’ gowns, reception, flowers and even bridegroom’s suit.
The wedding to fiancé Dave is set for July 17 th – the same day as Sam’s 40 th birthday.
Sylvia was able to attend a wedding blessing ceremony with the happy couple before she passed away.
Sam said: “Mum was my best friend.
“Before and after her death, I kept receiving emails to say the dresses had been paid for, the flowers, even Dave’s suit.
“She paid for everything. She was not a wealthy woman at all but she had saved and saved all her life for my wedding.”
She added: “Mum was born on Valentine’s Day, and she was a real romantic. This is the perfect legacy for her.”
When Sam wanted to leave her previous marriage, Sylvia gave her a birthday card with a bank card inside – insisting she would pay for a divorce.
Sam met “gentlemanly” Dave a few months later on a dating website.
A few months later, Sam met Dave Graham on a dating site.
“We fell in love really quickly”, said Sam.
“Best of all, Mum adored him. Afterwards, she said to me: ‘He is the one.’
“She insisted we had to get married, even though I didn’t want to marry again at that stage.”
The couple got engaged and began planning their wedding but in February 2020 Sylvia was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
Sam, who has a 15-year-old son named Luke, said: “The first question Mum asked was whether she’d survive to see me get married. It was heart-breaking.
“Mum deteriorated quickly but her main focus was my wedding. I started getting emails from photographers and florists and dress shops.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t want to think about getting married.”
She added: “Mum kept paying money into my bank account and I was getting really cross with her. I just wanted her to concentrate on herself.”
Unable to wed due to lockdown, last June Sam decided to have a wedding blessing ceremony in her home, organised with friend Kala Reeve.
She said: “The day was just perfect. My son, Luke, gave me away and Dave’s best mate was best man.
“Mum was absolutely thrilled. She was hanging on to see me in my wedding dress and I knew that was her dying wish.”
Sam added: “For me, although it wasn’t legal, that was my wedding day.”
Sylvia died two months later aged 66.
Sam says: “It was heart-breaking. Me and my three brothers were devastated. She was such a big character.
“At her funeral, we played: ‘How Long Will I Love You’ which was my wedding song too.”
Sam is planning to wear the same wedding dress to her upcoming marriage ceremony.
A photo of Sylvia taken on the day of the blessing will be the centrepiece of the aisle.
Sam said: “It will be a bittersweet day because my mum was everything to me.”