Saturday 19 August 2017

Shark attack widow leads funeral tributes to groom

Gemma Redmond (centre) arrives with her mother Coleta Houghton for the funeral of her husband Ian Redmond at St Michael and All Angels Church in Dalton, Skelmersdale
Gemma Redmond (centre) arrives with her mother Coleta Houghton for the funeral of her husband Ian Redmond at St Michael and All Angels Church in Dalton, Skelmersdale

The widow of honeymoon shark attack victim Ian Redmond remembered her wedding as the "most wonderful day of my life" as she spoke at her husband's funeral today.

Primary school teacher Gemma Redmond, 27, led hundreds of mourners at Mr Redmond's funeral as she followed his coffin into her family's local church.

A lone bagpipe player led the procession inside as Mrs Redmond followed behind, clasped tightly by her parents David and Coleta Houghton.

Mr Redmond's parents, Stephen and Corinne, and his brother Paul brought up the rear.

The venue - St Michael and All Angels Church in the West Lancashire village of Dalton - was the same setting as their wedding earlier this month.

Just 10 days after the ceremony, while on honeymoon in the Seychelles, the IT specialist was savaged by a shark as he swam in the waters off Anse Lazio beach on Praslin, the second largest island in the archipelago.

The 30-year-old was quickly brought to shore where a French surgeon, also on holiday, gave first aid on the beach as his new wife looked on.

But it is thought Mr Redmond, formerly from Nelson, Lancashire, simply lost too much blood due to the massive injuries suffered in the attack on August 16.

His death was the second fatal shark attack at the destination in a month. A 36-year-old French tourist was killed by a shark in the same area two weeks before.

The couple were due to set up home in Skelmersdale on their return in a cottage that Mr Redmond had refurbished.

Mrs Redmond was shaking as she went into the church but composed herself to give a lengthy, heartfelt tribute to her ''darling husband Ian'' - ''my soul mate and best friend''.

She recalled her wedding day, which was ''quite simply the most wonderful day of my life'', and then remembered their honeymoon.

''We were having such a happy time,'' she said. ''It was a lovely adventure and we were enjoying experiencing new things.

''We felt so at peace, so relaxed and were so excited about the future. It was truly romantic

''Each and every time you went swimming and snorkelling and I watched you, I could never quite believe that I was married to you.

''You were the most handsome and perfect man I have ever seen and I always longed for you to come back out of the sea and be back with me.''

She continued: "I've said it before and I'll say it again - you were and are my best friend. We could talk about anything and everything with each other - laugh, cry or just be quiet.

"You completed me and are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

"Whilst I cannot believe that you are gone, I am in shock and hurting so very much. I am comforted and consoled by the rich tapestry of our memories that we formed over our nine years together. Thank you.

"I promise you will never ever be forgotten and I will miss you so very much. You, above all people, knew how hard I found it to say goodbye to others and so I know you will understand if I don't say it. What I will say instead is 'See you soon!'. I'm looking forward to it so very much.

"All my love now, forever and always,

"Your wife, Gemma."

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