When Martin and Jean Ashton renewed their wedding vows on their 38th anniversary, the happy day was tinged with sadness.
Martin had been diagnosed with incurable cancer and just two years later, his widow Jean held his funeral service in the same church.
The couple, of Handsworth, Sheffield, had been supported by Cavendish Cancer Care following Martin’s devastating diagnosis with prostate cancer.
Their wedding vow renewal had raised £700 for the cause through asking guests for donations in lieu of gifts.
Jean, aged 62, said: “When you have been told you have terminal cancer it’s such a heavy weight you are carrying around but at Cavendish, they were so friendly.
“One day when we went they mentioned something about fundraising. I said we could renew our wedding vows for them and Martin said, ‘That’s a good idea’.
“We didn’t know how long he had left to live but renewing our vows was great as we had all our family together.
“It was lovely. I have it on tape and it’s wonderful to watch it and remember.”
Martin, an insulation engineer, received his diagnosis aged just 62.
Jean said: “We lived life to the full as much as we could. We had as many holidays as we could – we had 21 in three years! They were just short breaks but we had to fast-forward his retirement and make sure he did everything on his bucket list.”
Throughout Martin’s battle, the couple - who have two children and three grandchildren - were provided with complementary therapies and counselling by Cavendish.
Jean said: “Martin was reluctant to go because he wasn’t into therapy or anything like that but I needed something. In the end we both looked forward to it.
“During reflexology he got talking to a man and it turned out they had the same problem and had things in common. Everyone there used to make us feel really welcome and special.”
This year, on the anniversary of Martin’s death, Jean has raised £2,500 through a pie and peas night at Treeton Miners Welfare Club, not far from St Helen’s Church where the couple renewed their vows.
“We had a fabulous night,” said Jean.
“It was hard work but we raised £2,500. It was a big family get-together and we all remembered Martin.”