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Thursday 29 September 2016

Woman whose fiance died in car crash completes skydive in his honour on what would have been their wedding day

Claire Hayhurst

Published 12/10/2015 | 09:21

Emily Gormley and her pug, Marvin, before she completed a charity skydive in honour of her fiance who died in a car crash. Photo: Royal British Legion /PA Wire
Emily Gormley and her pug, Marvin, before she completed a charity skydive in honour of her fiance who died in a car crash. Photo: Royal British Legion /PA Wire

A woman whose fiance died in a car crash has completed a charity skydive in his honour on what would have been their wedding day.

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Emily Gormley, 27, jumped from 10,000ft out of a plane alongside her father, Kevin Gormley, 66, who had been due to walk her down the aisle.

The dive took place in Cornwall on October 2 - the day she was expecting to marry former soldier Matt Hodges, 27.

Mr Hodges, who served as a lance corporal in the Army, was killed while driving from Truro to their home in Falmouth on February 13.

The couple had planned their wedding since Mr Hodges proposed during a surprise picnic on Harlyn Bay in 2013.

Every aspect of the ceremony was booked, with Miss Gormley due to arrive at Merchant's Manor Hotel by Falmouth bay in a horse and carriage.

She marked the day by raising more than £4,400 for Mr Hodges' favourite charity, the Royal British Legion, along with family and friends.

Miss Gormley, a practice support manager at a dental practice, said taking part in the skydive made her feel "closer" to Mr Hodges.

"It was a very emotional day knowing what it should have been and I didn't sleep a wink the night before," she said.

"Of course there was a lot of sadness but I feel like we truly made the best of the day.

"We marked the day in a way which Matt would have liked - full of laughter and smiles.

"It might sound strange but when I think of someone who has passed away I feel like they're above us, looking down from the heavens.

"Because of that I felt like he was with us throughout the whole thing. I felt closer to him.

"He was with me and that's why I didn't find it difficult to do."

Miss Gormley and her father jumped at about 11.30am, free falling for 35 seconds before their parachutes were deployed.

She wore a t-shirt featuring a photograph of herself with Mr Hodges, with the words 'together you and me, flying high in the sky' on the front.

On the back the t-shirt had a picture of Mr Hodges and a poppy and read 'You may be gone from my sight, but you are never gone from my heart x'.

About 20 of Miss Gormley's family and friends gathered on the ground to watch the skydive.

"The sky dive went really well. It was an amazing thing to do. We both really enjoyed it," she added.

"The day was brilliant."

Following the dive, the group had lunch together before gathering on Perranporth beach for a champagne toast in Mr Hodges' memory.

Mr Hodges was working as a BT telecoms engineer when he died after serving in the Army for seven years.

His last post was at Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where he served as a lance corporal and he was in signals as an electrical engineer.

He was also a physical training instructor but was medically discharged in April 2014 due to a loss of hearing in one ear.

The Royal British Legion helped him make the transition to civilian life, including finding work with BT doing overhead wiring.

Miss Gormley initially aimed to raise £2,000 for the charity but has since doubled that amount.

Her JustGiving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/E-GORMLEY/

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