A COUPLE who put off their wedding for eleven years got hitched three days before the bride tragically passed away.
Ben and Jen Cooper got engaged in 2010 but kept putting back their wedding day due to work, family losses and having three children together.
The couple finally managed to tie the knot last month in the Severn Hospice in Telford, Shropshire, just days before Jen passed away following a battle with cancer.
Early last year Jen, 43, celebrated five years of being cancer free following treatment for breast cancer.
But months later, shortly before lockdown, the maths teacher was diagnosed with cancer again after discovering a new lump under her armpit.
The mum-of-five began a new battle with the disease but tragically passed away peacefully on November 20 with husband Ben, 34, by her side.
The couple brought their wedding day, which was planned for November 27, forward after Jen’s health deteriorated so the beloved mum could have her special day.
Speaking today Ben, from Newport, Shropshire, said: “There was just us, Jen’s mom and two witnesses.
“We played Bon Jovi for Jen, got her in her dress, and had some bubbly.
“It was perfect. The nurses hung Jen’s dress up in her room so she could look at it when she was in bed.
“The kids were so excited about the wedding I was worried about coming home and telling them we’d got married and that they hadn’t been able to be there, but they were just so happy for us.
“One happy thing to come from the arrangements for the original wedding is that the 27th is going to be turned into a mega birthday party for my girls, who all have their birthdays before Xmas.”
Jen had two children with her ex-husband and after meeting Ben went on to have three more children.
Ben said: “The community has also very kindly donated to a Just Giving page for the wedding costs and they have kept things open for a fund to help me and the kids stay afloat.
“I had no idea how I would get five kids through Christmas and three birthdays when my salary will barely cover the bills on my own, the donations will help me make sure that their first birthday/Christmas without mum is as happy as can be.
“My one daughter even insisted on wearing her wedding dress to school for children in need of a non-uniform day.
“Her last moments were with me holding her hand. I told her that I loved her and the kids loved her.
“The movie that had been playing in the background had just finished and I sad to the nurse ‘I can’t believe the last film she’ll ever watch is Big Momma’s House’, a stupid joke to break the tension and the nurse and I laughed.
“Then I noticed that her chest wasn’t moving and asked the nurse to check and she’d gone.
“So either the last thing she heard was ‘The kids love you’ or another stupid comment from me. I think Jen would have been happy with either.
“I stayed with her for a while, holding her hand and talking to her while my friend came to pick me up.
“Then I gave her one last kiss and said ‘Good night Beach’ (her nickname from me), and I went home to the kids.”
Ben shared a photo of the couple after their nuptials on Twitter just two days before Jen passed away, writing: “I finally married the love of my life on Wednesday.
“Not the day we had planned but amazing.
“I’m heartbroken that this marriage will be counted in days not years. Don’t put things off, tell the people you love that you love them now.”
The post has now collected over 99,800 likes, 4,500 retweets and 2,000 likes from users who shared their congratulations.
@laurencorbett80 wrote: “Congratulations your wife looks beautiful. I am so sorry your time together will be short.
“I have no idea why life is so cruel sometimes.”
@bl0gt0wn1978 said: “A beautiful bride in a beautiful dress. I’m sorry life has been so cruel to you.”
Ben and Jen’s friend Stephanie Freeman started a Just Giving page last month to help make the childrens’ first Christmas without their mum “as happy as can be.”
Ben plans to donate all excess donations directly to Severn Hospice where Jen passed, saying that “there are lots of other families struggling through the same as us.”
To donate, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mrandmrscoopertobe?utm_term=v7expaj5P