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Woman in charity skydive on day she hoped to marry fiance who died in car crash

Published 18/08/2015

Matt Hodges had been due to marry Emily Gormley
Matt Hodges had been due to marry Emily Gormley

A woman whose fiance died in a car crash will do a charity skydive in his honour on what would have been their wedding day.

Emily Gormley, 27, will jump from 10,000ft out of a plane alongside her father, Kevin Gormley, 66, who was due to walk her down the aisle.

The dive will take place in Cornwall on October 2 - the day she was expecting to marry former solder Matt Hodges, 27.

Mr Hodges, who served as a lance corporal in the Army, was killed while driving from Truro to their home in Falmouth on February 13.

The couple had meticulously planned their wedding since Mr Hodges proposed during a surprise picnic on Harlyn Bay in 2013.

Every aspect of the ceremony was booked, with Miss Gormley due to arrive at Merchant's Manor Hotel by Falmouth bay in a horse and carriage.

She will now mark the day by raising money for Mr Hodges' favourite charity, the Royal British Legion, along with family and friends.

Miss Gormley, a practice support manager at a dental practice, plans to wear her wedding ring and garter over her jumpsuit for the dive.

"When Matt left the Army he was medically discharged and the Royal British Legion helped him a lot," she said.

"When he settled into civvy life he said he wanted to do something to raise money for the Royal British Legion as a way of thanking them.

"Obviously, he didn't get that chance and so when he passed away I decided to do it for him.

"He would definitely have chosen something daring like a skydive - he was a lot more daring than me.

"I am not someone who is scared of heights and I can go on a plane but jumping out of a plane does really scare me."

Miss Gormley originally planned to complete the skydive by herself but her retired father asked to join her.

"It is on what would have been our wedding day, I wanted to mark the day - I didn't want to let it slip by," she added.

"We had everything arranged for it and I had to cancel absolutely everything.

"My dad said 'it would be wonderful if I could do the skydive with you'.

"I spoke to my best friend and she said 'he isn't going to be walking you down the aisle, he is going to be taking you up to the sky instead'.

"I texted my dad back saying 'dad, of course you can do it'. I know it is going to be a really emotional day."

Miss Gormley and her father will set off from Perranporth airfield in Cornwall, the county where she and her fiance grew up and lived.

Both will wear a t-shirt featuring a photograph of Mr Hodges, along with family and friends who will watch from the ground.

After the skydive, the group - including Miss Gormley and Mr Hodges' pug Marvin - will release balloons on the beach.

Mr Hodges was working as a BT telecoms engineer when he died after serving in the Army for seven years.

His last post was at Bulford Camp on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where he served as a lance corporal and he was in signals as an electrical engineer.

He was also a physical training instructor but was medically discharged in April 2014 due to a loss of hearing in one ear.

The Royal British Legion helped him make the transition to civilian life, including finding work with BT doing overhead wiring.

"I want to raise £2,000 and if I can get to that amount it will be amazing," Miss Gormley added.

"If I can get over that it will be fantastic.

"I will be so happy if I can raise as much as possible because I will feel like I am doing Matt proud.

"I owe it to his memory."

Miss Gormley and Mr Hodges lived in Falmouth and had been together for more than four years when he died.

They met at St Francis Primary School in Falmouth, having grown up on the same housing estate, and went to Falmouth Secondary School together.

The couple kept in touch on Facebook when he joined the Army and got together after he returned from a base in Germany in about 2011.

On September 4, Miss Gormley will launch a fundraising drive at No. 8 Hairdressing Salon in Truro.

Her JustGiving page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/E-GORMLEY/

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