A bride-to-be, whose fiancé died the day before they were meant to marry, has received a beautiful gift from him two months after he passed away.
Danielle Cumberworth’s partner, Ashley Grant-Smith, passed away last year as Danielle visited the registry office to sort out documents for their wedding.
Ashley, 27, sadly died after a two-year battle with a rare form of blood cancer.
The couple already had their wedding rings sorted, but Ashley had ordered a bespoke engagement ring for Danielle without her knowing. Two months after he died Danielle received the surprise gift.
Speaking to the Leicester Mercury, Danielle said:
Two months after Ashley died, I got home from work and had missed a parcel being delivered. I went to the sorting office and picked it up.
I opened it up in the car and it was an engagement ring from Ashley.
It was total surprise. I didn’t cry, I laughed. He had not told me about it at all. It is a beautiful diamond ring in white gold.
Danielle and Ashley met while on holiday in Crete in 2015, and were planning to get married at his parents’ home in Leicester. Danielle was at Leicester Register Office, sorting the necessary documents to allow them to marry the next day, when Ashley passed away.
I went into Leicester to get the paperwork sorted. I knew Ashley had had a rough night, but I had to go to get into town to get the go-ahead for the wedding the next day.
As soon as I stepped inside the register office, I got a call from Ashley’s dad. He told me to come back as soon as I could.
I knew then that Ashley had died.
When I got back to his parents’ house he was just lying there. It was awful.
Danielle, from Kent, had bought wedding rings two days previously, but was completely unaware Ashley had ordered her an engagement ring.
The ring had taken two months to get to me because he had had it specially made to his own design.
I will treasure it forever, and our wedding rings that were never used.
The couple met while on holiday and instantly hit it off. With Ashley living and working in London and Danielle in Kent, the pair quickly became girlfriend and boyfriend.
Ashley had found a lump on his neck and, after having blood tests at his GP’s surgery, received the devastating news it was a rare form of blood cancer.
The couple moved in together and, over the next few months, Ashley underwent a series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions. However, Ashley’s condition unfortunately deteriorated.
Danielle and Ashley started fundraising so Ashley could have a stem cell transplant.
We began fund-raising as soon as we could. In a few weeks we raised £25,000. We hoped Ashley would begin his immunotherapy in the autumn, but it wasn’t to be.
I am sad we didn’t get to say our wedding vows to each other, but I have the rings to keep.
Danielle recently ran the London Marathon for Ashley and to raise money for the charity Bloodwise. If you’d like to donate, click here.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.