Darlington woman who married partner after 20 years dies suddenly aged 63 (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Darlington woman who married partner after 20 years dies suddenly aged 63
TRIBUTES have been paid to a grandmother who has died only a year after marrying her partner of 20 years.
Christine Wheeler, 63, died on February 22, a week after she suffered a stroke that left her in a coma.
Mrs Wheeler married her husband, Karl, on January 21 last year, surrounded by family and friends, after winning The Northern Echo’s Win a Wedding competition, two decades after they first met.
Mr Wheeler, of Brankin Road, Darlington, described his wife as a ‘fantastic woman’ who had been taken from him 25 years too soon.
Mrs Wheeler, a grandmother of four, had complained of feeling unwell when she returned home from her job as a sales assistant and was rushed to hospital a short time later having suffered a stroke.
During an emergency transfer to Newcastle she had a further haemorrhage and died a week later.
Mr Wheeler said: “Christine was a very young 63 so it was a huge shock. She went to work as normal and then 24 hours later she was as good as gone.
“It’s frightening – if you’ve got a partner, make sure you tell them that you love them often enough because you don’t know if they’re going to come back.
“She was just a fantastic woman, she will be greatly missed by everyone.”
Mr and Mrs Wheeler met 20 years ago but had never been able to marry due to ill health and money difficulties.
Mr Wheeler decided to enter the wedding competition after Mrs Wheeler overcame cancer, including surgery for a double hip replacement.
In his entry letter, Mr Wheeler described his fiancé as: “A superwoman, looking after her disabled mum and also helping with her grandchildren. She deserves a wedding fit for a princess.”
The couple were finally able to say ‘I do’ in front of 160 guests in their dream wedding ceremony after winning the public vote.
Mrs Wheeler described her wedding as a ‘lovely, amazing, brilliant day’ and added: “We’ve been together a long time and this just seals everything and feels lovely.”
Mrs Wheeler also leaves two sons, Rob and Kev, two step-sons, Matthew and Christopher, and four grandchildren, Harley, Padmé, Summer and Cameron.
Her funeral will take place tomorrow (Tuesday, March 5) at St John’s Church, in Neasham Road, Darlington, at 2.30pm.