Man loses battle with cancer just weeks after fulfulling dying wish of marrying love of life
Published 10/05/2016 | 08:38
A terminally-ill man who fulfilled his dying wish when he married the love of his life 11 weeks ago has lost his battle with cancer.
Popular swimming instructor Willie Turner passed away in Portadown on Saturday, surrounded by family members including wife Lyndsey, who he tied the knot with in a ceremony organised by the local community.
The 43-year-old's funeral will take place today, with the cortege going from his mother's home in the town for a service in Seagoe Parish Church at 2pm, followed by interment in the adjoining cemetery.
Willie captured hearts across Northern Ireland when, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, he revealed that marrying his fiancee was at the top of his bucket list.
The couple were gifted a fairy tale wedding in Brownlow House in Lurgan on February 22, organised within hours of the Belfast Telegraph sharing details of Willie's final wish.
Such was the outpouring of love that local businesses rallied round to offer their services free of charge to help make his dream come true.
In what was a beautiful but bittersweet day, the happy couple toasted their new status as man and wife, surrounded by 50 members of their family and close friends.
A proud and happy Willie told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are over the moon. It is lovely and what I've always wanted, especially under the circumstances.
"I've lived my bucket list and the only thing on there was to marry Lyndsey, and I've done it thanks to everyone who has so generously made it happen and made it happen so very quickly.
"It is unbelievable how good and how helpful people from our wee country have been, and it is very humbling. We are just so thankful to everyone."
Willie also got his wish to spend his first and last holiday abroad in Lanzarote with his new wife, sons Bobby (two) and Freddie (one), step-sons Luke (11) and Jake (10) and 12-year-old daughter Karson.
Willie was given just months to live when he was diagnosed on August 7 last year with adenocarcinoma - cancer of the lung lining.
Last November, he was determined to beat the cancer and said that his goal was to live to see his boys start school and prove the doctors - who had given him between 12 and 18 months to live - wrong.
The swimming instructor said at the time: "Denial is a great thing. Just looking at the boys and thinking about everyone around me - my daughter, my mum, my three sisters and Lyndsey - I have to fight it, yet I can't help worrying about what will happen to them. That upsets me and I try not to think about it."
Willie put up a brave battle, but despite months of gruelling chemotherapy, his condition continued to deteriorate after his wedding and he passed away peacefully at home on Saturday evening.