Family pay tribute to Sunderland woman who died just days after marrying love of her life in hospital

A woman diagnosed with terminal cancer who married the love of her life at a special ceremony in hospital has sadly died.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 3:17 pm
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 6:01 pm
Niece Leigh Brown giving flowers to Gail ahead of the wedding ceremony last Friday, May 21.
Niece Leigh Brown giving flowers to Gail ahead of the wedding ceremony last Friday, May 21.

Gail Ritchie 57, passed away at her home on Wednesday afternoon (May 26) surrounded by her loved ones.

It came just weeks after Gail received the shock diagnosis that she had terminal lung cancer at the end of April.

Gail married the love of her love Peter Stubbs, at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Friday, May 21, after the Archibishop of Canterbury granted them a special license to get married.

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Gail with grandson Jack.

Gail’s niece Leigh Brown, was able to attend the wedding, along with Gail’s grandson Jack, 14, her sisters Carole and Deborah, and brother-in-law Derek.

Peter and Gail, both from Farringdon, were together for 40 years after meeting at the Sunderland pub The Dun Cow.

Leigh has said Peter is a “broken man” after Gail’s passing and the whole family is “absolutely devastated” as she paid a touching tribute to her aunt.

Leigh, 52, described Gail as a “lovely lady” and said it was “an honour” to have been her niece.

Gail Ritchie with husband Peter Stubbs following their wedding at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

She said: “We are absolutely devastated.

"She was a lovely lady. She would do anything for anybody. She loved to paint and decorate.

"She was there for you all the time.

"She loved the football and she loved to bet.

"It was an honour to be her niece and to look after her at the end. An absolute honour.”

The nurse from South Hetton continued: "We were more like sisters.

"There’s only five years between us, we were sisters, we weren’t auntie and niece.

"I loved her dearly. I always will.

"I feel privileged and honoured to have been her niece.”

The family is now raising money for the funeral costs and to support Peter’s grandson, Jack who Gail was Nana to.

Remembering her auntie, Leigh added: "She was well-respected in Sunderland. She was known by hundreds of people.”

The funeral will take place on June 9 (Wednesday) at Sunderland Crematorium.

The service is invite only, but friend and the public are welcome to gather outside or attend via video link.

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