A CREWE dad has died just three months after friends organised his wedding in a record-breaking 12 hours.
Tragic Steph Walley, from Nelson Street in Crewe, died in his bride's arms at St Luke's Hospice in Winsford. He was 37 years old.
Heartbroken Karen Walley, 32, was surrounded by her friends and family at the funeral service at St Andrew's in Crewe on Monday where she was married only a short time before.
The procession went past Steph's local, The Express on Mill Street, where customers stood outside to raise their glasses to the regular they called 'the bravest man alive'.
The strapping 6ft 4in railway signalling engineer discovered in April he was suffering from incurable lung cancer and it was only a matter of time before he would die.
He had never smoked and had led a healthy lifestyle. The only symptoms he had were flu-like.
The couple had been planning to get married in a year's time but when friends heard he would probably not survive that time, they helped Karen, his girlfriend of 10 years and mother of his two children aged eight and six, organise a beautiful wedding in a day.
Sadly, their matrimony came to an abrupt end last week.
Friend Julia Mallet said: 'With chemotherapy, Steph was expected to live a year or more but it made him feel so ill he and Karen made the tough decision to stop it, so he could have some quality of life with her and the kids.
'He went into St Luke's to get over the treatment and was expected to come out to carry on with what remained of his life but, sadly, he never made it.
'He died within a week, very peacefully, in Karen's arms. All his friends were at his bedside, but Karen asked us to leave so she could spend the final few minutes with him. He was the love of her life. I have never met a couple who were so close.'
The pair were married at St Andrew's in Bedford Street after the Chester Dicoese waived rules over waiting for three weeks for banns to be read because of the special circumstances.
The Rev Bill Baker came back to Crewe from his holiday in Blackpool on hearing how quickly the wedding had to take place while staff at the Express pub laid on a reception at the drop of a hat.
Julia, who was involved in the organising, said: 'We were so pleased we managed to pull it all together for them. Steph and Karen had a wonderful day.
'She is devastated, but being strong for the kids. They would have had a long and happy marriage if it hadn't of been for that cancer. Life can be so very cruel.'