Dad-of-four soldier renews wedding vows with wife then dies one week later

A soldier died from cancer a week after renewing his wedding vows with his wife in hospital.

Major Huw Francis Isaac Jones, from Wales, died shortly before Christmas aged 48.

The popular dad-of-four died just months after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Originally from Senghenydd, south Wales, the respected soldier who had been honoured by the Queen died shortly after renewing his vows with his wife Patricia.

Huw was meant to be in Belize for six months but he kept extending his time so he could stay longer to be with his future wife.

She told Wales Online : "He never proposed to me really, he just told me we were getting married.

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"I moved over to the UK. It was never somewhere I thought I would live. I was living in America and I'd only went home for my mother's wedding anniversary. Never looked back."

They got married and came to the UK in 2001, with Patricia describing them as "the cheesiest couple that ever existed".

He was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan several times and honoured by the Queen.

Patricia said: "I missed him dearly when he was out there. But I always knew he would come home to me. I never expected that cancer would be the one to take him away, never in a million years."

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Last April, Huw was diagnosed with cancer.

Patricia said: "Everything just suddenly happened. Everything from start to finish was just a big blur.

"He had surgery in September and was told he had a life expectancy of 10 years. But then, after surgery, the type of cancer he had was rapidly aggressive and everything just went downhill. The cancer toyed with everyone."

On December 2 the couple renewed their vows at Stoke Hospital after the military helped organise the ceremony in one day.

Patricia said: "It was the most magical, saddest, beautiful day. We renewed our vows with our children.

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"My son walked me down the aisle and my daughters walked ahead while he was waiting for me in his wheelchair. We renewed our vows once again before I lost him a week after.

"It was difficult but it was also a celebration of love and life and for him to know what no matter where he goes I will always love him and he loved me.

"We had something that people don't even have in a lifetime but I had it for 20 years, which is quite short really, but I had it."

Huw's funeral, which had full military honours, took place on January 21 in Shropshire with around 500 people attending.

After several deployments across the world he was awarded the Royal Red Cross by the Queen in 2008 for his services to nursing, earning him the letters ARRC after his name.

Mrs Jones described her husband, a keen sailor and fisherman, as a man who "loved life". She said: "He had a wicked sense of humour. Very, very intelligent man. He was my best friend."

Despite her heartbreaking loss Patricia said her life as a military wife had helped keep her strong. Patricia, who thanked her parents-in-law and the military for their support, said: "I have no family in the UK. It was me, the kids, and him – but there is no him anymore.

"So being a military wife is about being strong – some manage and some don't. But I came to the UK in 2001 and he went away in Oman in September – so he left me in the UK on my own.

"Then you have two choices – you survive by yourself or you don't. And I am the type of person not to feel sorry for myself so you manage. You learn to manage, you learn to cope, and you keep yourself occupied – you just have to carry on."

Mr Jones, born to parents Gillian and Edwin Jones, leaves behind his children Lewis, Vivian, Arianna, and Edmund.

The vow renewals were organised by his military colleagues, nurses caring for him at the hospital, and Kath Ryan.

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