The whole of Fremington has clubbed together to pull off the last request of a man with terminal cancer – to marry his partner of 25 years.

The wife of a Fremington man who died of cancer has thanked friends and neighbours who rallied together to pull off their dream wedding.

Father-of-four Chris Aldred, 52, died on August 8, but his final wish was to marry his partner of 25 years, Penny Harris.

Determined to help make his dreams come true, villagers in Fremington quickly picked up on the plans and took over the organisation of the day.

The community created the wedding of Chris and Penny's dreams, donating everything from the dress to the marquee.

All proceeds from the day, so far totalling more than £500, will be donated to ChemoHero.

Penny and Chris at their wedding reception at Fremington Parish Hall.Penny and Chris at their wedding reception at Fremington Parish Hall.

'Old-fashioned wedding reception'

Chris and Penny legally married on July 24 in a quiet ceremony with their children Cameron, Sophie and Sebastian.

But five days later, they had their dream white wedding at St Peter's Church, with a reception at Fremington Parish Hall.

Penny and Chris with their children Cameron, 13, Sophia, 12, and Sebastian, 10, after officially getting married. Penny and Chris with their children Cameron, 13, Sophia, 12, and Sebastian, 10, after officially getting married.

After the wedding day, Chris was admitted back into North Devon Hospice, where he died nine days later in Penny's arms.

Penny, 48, told the Gazette: "Chris told me he wanted an old-fashioned wedding reception in a parish hall with 'cake, bunting and tables'.

"I'm still absolutely overwhelmed and blown away that all these people managed to pull this off for us.

"They will never understand fully how eternally grateful I will be for what they did.

"They gave Chris something he wanted at such short notice, which I didn't have the time, ability to, and couldn't financially or emotionally have coped with."

Penny and Chris at their wedding day at St Peter's Church in Fremington.Penny and Chris at their wedding day at St Peter's Church in Fremington.

'Heart-warming and special'

Frank Biederman, of Fremington Community group, said in all the events he had been involved in, this was 'by far the most heart-warming and special'.

He said: "I have never known an effort like it; everyone was desperate to help.

"We had a team of about 50 that did and sought everything that you need for a wedding; so many businesses donated stuff from table clothes to a Rolls Royce.

"We pulled the whole event off for around £300 which was covered from profit from the bar on the day. We also made over £500 for ChemoHero from the bar.

"I think I speak for all, when I say it was a privilege to be involved and meant so much to us all, to do something for such a special family."

Celebration of life

Chris and Penny met in 1992 when they locked eyes across The Tavern pub in Barnstaple.

As well as their three children, Chris has an older daughter, Francesca, and a 12-year-old grandson, Dominic.

Chris set up Satellite and Digital Services (SDS) Ltd in 1998 and also was a director of Total Support Group (TSG).

A celebration of Chris' life will be held at the Rowan Chapel at Barnstaple Crematorium tomorrow (Wednesday, August 23) at 1.40pm with donations to North Devon Hospice.