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Groom recites wedding vows at fiances’s funeral after she died of cancer

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A heartbroken groom has told how he recited the vows intended for his wedding day at his fiancée’s funeral after she died of cancer.

Ryan Dixon, 25, made the sad journey to the Cornish headland where he had proposed to Kate Wignall, on May 30, 2020, to scatter her ashes in their “favourite place.”

Kate, 25, and occupational therapist from St Austell, was diagnosed with stage four melanoma – advanced skin cancer – in July 2020 and died on April 14, 2021.

Ryan, a lab technician, read the vows they wrote together, in front of 30 mourners at her funeral on May 4, 2021.

Kate and Ryan
(Image: PA Real Life)

He said: “Although these are the vows we did not get to speak, they will be ours forever, to cherish and keep.”

They became sweethearts after he moved to St Austell from nearby Lost Withiel, Cornwall, when he was 15. He has now vowed to honour her by continuing to tick off a bucket list of experiences she hoped to have before her death and has helped to raise more than £5,000 for Cancer Research by hiking up the three highest peaks in the UK in her memory.

He said: “If I can take Kate’s legacy with me everywhere I go, that’s what I’m going to do.

“She was the most beautiful soul in the world inside and out, so I hope I can do her just a little bit of justice, but it will never compare to how she really was.

“The way I see it is she’s always with me, so it’s never truly goodbye.”

The first sign that anything was wrong with Kate came on May 31, 2020, when she experienced sudden, agonising chest pains.

After seeing the doctor and being sent for tests, just six weeks after Ryan proposed she was diagnosed with the aggressive disease.

Further investigations resulted in an official diagnosis of stage four advanced melanoma, which had spread to her brain, spine, spleen, kidney and lungs.

Speaking last year, to warn other young people of the dangers of skin cancer, she said: “It was heartbreaking telling Ryan. We’d been on such a high and now our lives were suddenly and sharply going in a different direction.”

Deeply in love, Ryan and Kate accelerated their plans to get married – moving their wedding forwards from May 2022, when they had intended to tie the knot in Rhodes, Greece, to the first week of May 2021 at Knightor Winery, in St Austell.

Another cruel blow came shortly after, when Kate began a rapid and terminal decline – finally slipping away on April 14, just two weeks before their longed-for wedding day.

Another major achievement has been Ryan’s fundraiser for Cancer Research, which saw him and three friends, including Kate’s cousin Patrick, complete the Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the three highest mountains in the UK – between July 24 and 25, raising a total of £5,300 for the charity.

Ryan added: “Kate and I knew that. We explored so much of the world together, we lived each day as fully as possible with each other for the last 10 years.

“And I will carry her in my heart and take her positive views with me throughout my life.”

To donate, visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/3-peaks-challenge-in-memory-of-kate

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