Wife dies day after marrying

A DEVASTATED husband has paid tribute to his wife who died from cancer just a day after they married.

James Hore

A DEVASTATED husband has paid tribute to his wife who died from cancer just a day after they married.

Ken Attfield and Tracie Sykes met in 2000 and were planning to tie the knot on the holiday island of Ibiza this summer.

About 18 months ago the mother-of-two from Witham went to the doctors suffering from a bad back, thinking she had a prolapsed disc.

However, she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and this New Year's she was admitted to Essex County Hospital in Colchester for treatment.

When doctors told the couple it was only had a matter of days for the 47-year-old they decided to move their dream wedding forward to the hospital bed.

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Within two days of being told the news, they had married with family and friends at their side and Mrs Attfield died the following day.

Speaking from his home in Witham, Mr Attfield, 54, said his wife was a well-known character with many friends.

About 200 people turned up to Mrs Attfield's at Chelmsford Crematorium including her 99-year-old grandmother, Dottie Munro, who brought Tracie up as a youngster in London.

He said: “We were looking forward to a long and happy marriage and to grow old together.

“The grandchildren had been to see her on Christmas Day and she was in good form, she had just had a blood transfusion and was pretty good and thought maybe she had six months to go.

“She was hoping to have the chance to go swimming with dolphins and to get married at our 'special place' - Puerto San Miguel in Ibiza.

“She was happiest when she was with her boys - Luke, 26, and Tom, 19, - and her grandchildren, but when we were by ourselves, the happiest moments of her life were on that wonderful beach.”

Mr Attfield said when doctors broke the devastating news that there was not long left, he knew they had to marry.

“It was something that I knew she and I wanted to do and it made me so happy because she had been so brave.

“I was always amazed at how brave she was - she dealt with the cancer in a way that you would expect because of her strong character and strength.”

He said when they knew the prognosis, they made sure to sneak to the nearby Hospital Arms pub to have one last drink together.

Mrs Attfield was well known around Braintree and Witham areas and enjoyed socialising and had been working as a manager of Corals bookmakers in Chelmsford.

The couple first met when Mrs Attfield was working as a barmaid in the Jack and Jenny pub, Witham, and her husband-to-be called in to get some food on his way back to Gloucester where he was working at the time.

Mr Attfield, who works as a warehouse man at a recycling centre in Witham, said: “I just thought she was stunning and, as was mentioned at the funeral, her first words to me were 'mine is a large vodka, a bucket of ice and enough coke to colour it.

“She liked to socialise although she had quieted down from when we first met.”

Mrs Attfield passed a degree in psychology at Essex University with a 2.1 in 1999 and was looking forward to one day beginning a career in a care environment.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk