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Samantha Byrne's daughter plans charity skydive in memory of brave mum


Samantha Byrne and her daughter Jessica

Samantha Byrne and her daughter Jessica

Samantha Byrne and her daughter Jessica

The daughter of the late Samantha Byrne, whose final wish was to marry before she passed away from terminal cancer, is doing a skydive in memory of her "brave" mum.

Samantha (53) touched the hearts of thousands earlier this year as her family persuaded the Executive to allow the wedding to go ahead during lockdown.

It was a day both she and her husband Frankie thought would never happen.

But terminally-ill bride Samantha and her husband were able to say "I do" in their Loughbrickland home in Co Down back in May.

The pair were engaged two years previous, just months before Samantha was diagnosed with cancer.

As the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, Samantha and Frankie's wedding in a Banbridge registry office was cancelled. Following her soft cell sarcoma diagnosis in 2018, the cancer spread to her lungs, neck and spine and her condition deteriorated in the weeks before she was due to marry.

In a monumental effort to urge the Executive to lift the restrictions, Samantha's family were delighted when First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill announced that marriage ceremonies could take place in which a person is terminally ill.

Samantha's daughter Jessica, son Stephen and Frankie's best friend Kevin McGuinness were by their side on the wedding day as other family members watched on video link.

Heartbreakingly, Samantha passed away in August and was buried in the dress she wore at her wedding. A short service was held at the couple's home, the scene of their wedding just three months earlier.

Samantha's daughter Jessica (26) has already raised over £1,000 for Newry's Southern Area Hospice, who cared for her mum in her final days.

Her skydive will take place in Coleraine this December but an exact date has not been organised yet due to the new Covid-19 measures brought in by the Executive this week.

"We had to raise the money first before we could pick the date but we're just not sure what way it's going to work with all of the restrictions that's came in," Jessica said.

"I'm not really nervous at the minute but I know I will be on the day."

Jessica felt that due to the bravery of her mum she had to do something that would push her to the limit.

"I just think my mum was very brave so I wanted to do something that would scare me rather than doing something easy like a run," she said.

It was only seven weeks ago that Samantha passed away and Jessica said it still hasn't hit the family that she has gone.

"It just feels like she's still in hospital and she's going to be coming back," she added. To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jessica-gamble2

Belfast Telegraph