'Five days after our wedding I just knew ill husband wasn't coming home'

-Credit: (Image: Diane Hodgson)
-Credit: (Image: Diane Hodgson)

A new bride held her groom's hand and stroked his hair as he died just five days after they were married. Diane and Paul Hodgson tied the knot on June 13 after 10 years together at their home in Heywood, Manchester,

Paul was given a sudden cancer diagnosis just weeks before the wedding, reports Manchester Evening News. The 56-year-old began feeling unwell around Christmas, experiencing excessive burping, dark urine, loose stools, and back pain. Despite blood and stool tests showing no immediate concerns, his health continued to decline.

In February, the couple took a week-long trip to Egypt, but his condition worsened. Upon returning, Paul’s GP noticed his skin had turned yellow, a change masked by his holiday tan. Alarmed by his rapid decline, Diane took him to A&E, where a CT scan revealed a mass on his pancreas, leading to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Paul underwent surgery to remove the cancer on March 1 and returned home 12 days later. However, follow-up scans showed the cancer had already spread. He began chemotherapy at The Christie hospital but was too unwell to continue treatment.

Knowing time was short, the couple married at home on June 13, calling it the "perfect day." Tragically, Paul passed away just five days later with Diane by his side.

Dianne and Paul -Credit:Diane Hodgson
Dianne and Paul -Credit:Diane Hodgson

Diane, 59, an NHS sipport worker, said: "The cancer had spread so badly, it was just so quick. He was so strong. I knew it would be a bad outcome from day one because I work for the NHS, but I kept reading and hoping that he would live for a bit longer.

"But after the operation, he was getting thinner and thinner. I was trying to feed him and he could hardly eat small portions. He was just clinging on to everything. He never said he was in pain - but he was in pain. In the last few days, he said, 'I've only got a few days left.'"

Originally from Surrey, Paul, who has been described as "really good fun", loved scuba diving, music and Liverpool FC. "We wanted to get married and had to get a special license to marry at home because he wasn't well enough," Diane said.

"Our house was full of love, you could feel it. We've got such special friends and family. We had a cake from Slattery's and two young girls came and did my hair and makeup."

The couple in happier times -Credit:Diane Hodgson
The couple in happier times -Credit:Diane Hodgson

The couple spent their honeymoon in The Christie as Paul was too unwell to stay at home. Sadly, he died just days later. "We just watched telly and he slept for quite a lot of it," Diane added. "I just knew he wasn't coming home.

"I sat him on the chair because he was uncomfortable and agitated. I said I would ring the nurses because he had some pain and I just knew. I pulled the buzzer and they told me to hold his hand and talk to him. I didn't cry, I just said, 'You've been so brave, darling, it's time to have a rest now.

"I just held his hand and talked to him and stroked his hair. I loved him so much," Diane told the MEN as she broke down in tears. "He was so beautiful."

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