A bride-to-be is overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who have stumped up nearly £5,000 so her dying mother can watch her walk down the aisle.
Jess Goodwin, 26, had planned to marry fiancee Ayden James, 26, in a dream wedding in November next year before being given the devastating news that mum Jane Hall has terminal cancer – and less than a year to live.
Tragically, she always assumed her mum would be on hand to give her away after her dad Greg Hall died in a car accident when she was four.
But as news spread of the ill fate, Jessica was astonished when friends, family and most amazingly complete strangers, offered money and services to make her dream come true.
Nursery practitioner Jessica said: “I don’t have enough gratitude and I can’t say thank you enough to everybody who has helped us.
“The day was going to be emotional anyway, especially with not having my dad there but the thought of mum not being there too was too much.
“It’s meant to be the happiest day of your life.
“Mum came to me shortly after being told she had liver cancer and asked me if I would consider moving the wedding forward.
“There was no question, it was a no brainer. We had to say, ‘yes, let’s do it’.”
Jess and Ayden, 26, who are parents to Koru, four, Romeo, two, and four-month-old Eric, got engaged in August last year after 11-years together.
They set the date for November 25, 2017, to give them enough time to save up for their big day.
But their plans were shattered when Jess, her sister Gina Laing, 24, and brother Daniel Goodwin, 22, were dealt the devastating news that their mother has incurable liver cancer.
Jane, who has always been healthy, was found to have two tumours, both bigger than her liver, that are inoperable, and doctors have given her between eight and 11 months to live.
She went to see her GP in November but her symptoms were not thought to be sinister so following a series of tests, she was told to return in the new year for the results.
“I started getting stomach pains and now I’m grateful for them because there were no symptoms at all.
“On the plus side we did have a reasonable Christmas because we didn’t hear the results until January.
My children were completely devastated, particularly as their father died in a car crash when they were little.
“They had always assumed that they had lost one parent so they would have the other forever.
“They just assumed they would go through the rest of their lives without any other tragedies.
“I have baffled the doctors as to why it should be me but it’s just one of those things.
“The most important thing for me now is to be there for Jessica’s wedding because her real dad can’t be there.”
Unsure how to plan a wedding in just months without the funds to hand, nursery practitioner Gina suggested they setup a crowdfunding page.
They set a modest target of £2,500, but could never have expected the response of the general public.
Jess, from Bedford, said: “I didn’t expect people to give me their money for something that doesn’t benefit them.
“But my sister said ‘let’s stick it up and see what happens’.
“I went to bed and when I got up the next day, we were on £385. I just thought, ‘wow, we can pay for a photographer’.
“Since then there’s been so many kind people giving what they can. One man gave us £500 and cars for the day.
“We’ve also been offered DJ services and people offering to do the food. It’s just so nice of people, I could never have expected we’d get such an amazing response.”
In just two weeks, almost £5,000 has been raised for Jess and Ayden’s wedding, which will now take place on July 23 – with Jane able to attend.
Jess added: “It’s not going to be too extravagant, but it will be really special.
“We’re having a Disney theme and toad in the hole with mash and gravy to eat.
“It will be a day to remember.”
To support Jess, visit: www.gofundme.com/rypjecys