Mother dying of cancer spends her last weekend watching eldest daughter become a bride after couple organise dream wedding in a WEEK
A mother who battled cancer for two years died just hours after watching her beloved daughter become a bride.
Linda Stace clung on to life and watched her oldest child Jamie-Lee and Harry Hopwood become happily married.
The couple planned to marry later this year, but moved the wedding forward and arranged it in just a week so Linda, whose condition had dramatically worsened, could be there.
Dying wish: Cancer victim Linda Stace, centre, with her daughter Jamie-Lee and new son-in-law Harry Hopwood surrounded by Mrs Stace's son Ryan, 12 and daughter Lauren, 11, before the marriage ceremony
However, just 36 hours after the ceremony on Saturday, the 45-year-old passed away at St Luke's Hospice in Basildon, Essex, which hosted a blessing after a civil ceremony.
The new Mrs Hopwood, 21, said: ‘I miss my mum so much but I know how proud she was to be at our wedding.
‘She was so strong and now she can rest and stop fighting. The whole family is proud of the way mum fought right until the end and she hung on to see us get married.
‘She looked absolutely gorgeous at the wedding and I'm so happy she shared our big day with us, she made it perfect, it was special, just like her.
‘I am so thankful and lucky that she was my mum.
Emotional: Linda hugs her daughter in a final embrace before she marries
Blessing: Mrs Stace husg her new son-in-law at a blessing at St Lukes hospice, Basildon after the wedding
Linda, inspirational mother-of-three was not well enough to attend Brentwood Register Office for the civil ceremony.
But she witnessed the couple's emotional blessing held at the hospice where she had been staying since Christmas.
Surrounded by her loving family, Mrs Stace wore a purple and pink silk dress topped off with a sash saying Mother of the Bride.
Touched: Mrs Spaces struggles to hold back tears
She said afterwards: ‘I am so overwhelmed. The service was amazing, just beautiful and I am so proud of my Jamie-Lee.
‘She looked a million dollars, I am so happy.’
Mrs Stace was surrounded by her children, including Ben Hull, 12, and Lauren Hull, 11, family and friends when she died at 5.30am on Monday.
Jamie-Lee and Harry, 26, will now bring up Ben and Lauren, on Linda's behalf.
She added: ‘Harry and I will give Ben and Lauren the best upbringing and the life she would have wanted them to have.’
Two years ago, Linda noticed a mole on her leg had changed colour and shape so she immediately went to the doctor.
She was told it was melanoma and had it removed.
With regular checks, everything seemed fine until last year, when she found a lump in her groin area and discovered the cancer had moved to her lymph nodes.
Linda has a major operation in November last year to have the cancer removed, but a few weeks later, doctors discovered a large tumour in her stomach and decided it was too dangerous to operate.
Mrs Hopwood, formerly Wheelam, was given away by her younger brother Ryan Shaves, 17, of Basildon, who plans to join the Army in May.
Big moment: The new Mrs Hopwood is escorted down the aisle by her 17-year-old brother Ryan
He said: ‘I have been so honoured to give my sister away today, our dad couldn't be here and he asked me to step in.
‘I have been really excited about it.’
Jamie-Lee's bridesmaids were her friend, Stephanie Marsh, and her sister, Lauren. Her brother, Ben, acted as the ring bearer for Harry, with his best man and cousin, Billy Hopwood.
Staff at St Luke's worked hard to prepare the lounge for the service and put on a buffet for the guests afterwards, after finding out about the plan for the wedding a week ago.
Before: Mrs Stace with Jamie-Lee and two other children Lauren and Ben, who the new bride plans to look after
Jamie-Lee said after the ceremony: ‘I cannot thank everyone enough.
‘I don't even know what to say, except for it was amazing and my mum was so proud of us.
‘There have been so many people who helped us arrange this day in just one week. They have been amazing.’