A woman whose fiance died the day before they were due to get married has received a beautiful gift from him after his death.
Danielle Cumberworth was devastated when her fiance, Ashley Grant-Smith, passed away just a day before their marriage, but received the shock of a lifetime when, months after he passed away, she found out that he had ordered a custom engagement ring for her.
"Two months after Ashley died, I got home from work and had missed a parcel being delivered. I went to the sorting office and picked it up," said Danielle. "I opened it up in the car in the car park and it was an engagement ring from Ashley.
"It was total surprise. I didn't cry, I laughed. He had not told me about it at all. It is a beautiful diamond ring in white gold."
Ashley died while Danielle was in Leicester town centre, arranging the documents for their wedding.
"I went into Leicester to get the paperwork sorted," she said. "I knew Ashley had had a rough night, but I had to go to get into town to get the go-ahead for the wedding the next day - October 10.
"As soon as I stepped inside the register office, I got a call from Ashley's dad. He told me to come back as soon as I could. I knew then that Ashley had died. When I got back to this parents' house he was just lying there. It was awful."
The pair had bought engagement rings, but her fiance had purchased a custom-made ring online.
"The ring had taken months to get to me because he had had it specially made to his own design," said Danielle. "I will treasure it forever, and our wedding rings that were never used."
The pair met on holiday in Crete in 2015.
"I was playing a drinking game with my friends while sitting by the pool, and Ashley and a mate pulled up a sun-lounger. We got on well and stayed as a group for the rest of the holiday," said Danielle. "He showed me a small lump on his neck. He said it was probably nothing and he was taking antibiotics to get rid of it."
The lump on his neck grew, and eventually he had it examined by a doctor. "Ashley was told it was cancer, but the doctors were not sure which type," explained Danielle.
"After more tests, he was told in April 2016 that the lump was peripheral T-cell lymphoma, a rare blood cancer. By then we'd only been together for a year, and had yet to live together. As a relatively new couple, we hadn't even met all of each other's mates.
"As the months went by, the tumour on Ashley's shoulder continued to grow. We nicknamed it Colin. I joked, 'There are three of us in this relationship and it's too crowded - Colin must go'."
Ashley began four months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which caused him to become more ill and to lose his hair. Nevertheless, they continued and managed to find a donor for a stem cell transplant.
"We began fund-raising as soon as we could. In a few weeks we raised £25,000. We hoped Ashley would begin his immunotherapy in the autumn, but it wasn't to be," added Danielle.
"I was there in the hospital room with him and his mum and dad and sister when the doctors gave him the news. I was just numb. The doctors said, 'You can stay here in the hospital, go to a hospice or go home'. Ashley said in an instant, 'I want to go back to Leicester'.
"His mum and me looked after him as best we could. The word went out and all Ashley's friends and relatives came to see him. He was too ill to go out anywhere, so everyone came to him. We also got him a takeaway meal from his favourite Chinese restaurant.
"I asked him if he had any regrets in life and he said, 'Not being able to marry you'. So we set about putting that right and we were both looking forward to the big day, but we never made it.
"Ashley was a lifelong Leicester City fan. He would have loved the fact that we had his wake at the King Power Stadium. He was a Leicester lad through and through, and I feel lucky that I got time with him.
"I am sad we didn't get to say our wedding vows to each other, but I have the rings to keep. We had a relatively short time together but it has given me so many memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life."
Featured Image Credit: BPM