A dying father’s precious gift

Ian and Kelly Chorley with baby Owen
Ian and Kelly Chorley with baby Owen

A 25-YEAR-OLD man who recently lost his battle with cancer managed to get married at St Wilfrid’s Hospice and meet his newborn baby six days before his death.

Ian Chorley, who grew up in Hailsham and lived with his partner Kelly on Eastbourne seafront, passed away on January 19 after a six-year battle.

Despite being very ill, courageous Ian managed to fulfill his dreams by exchanging vows at St Wilfrid’s Hospice on January 9 in front of 26 guests.

Wife Kelly Chorley organised the wedding in just three days since she knew her partner, who she had been with for six years, did not have long to live.

Kelly had already proposed to Ian on Christmas 2010.

“I wanted him to know that I would be there every step of the way for him,” she said.

The pair tied the knot when Ian managed to stand with his close life-long friend Stuart Morgan, who he met at Hawkes Farm Primary School in Hailsham, as best man by his side.

Kelly said, “He was having trouble with his speech but he managed to speak clearly, we could understand what he was saying.”

His godmother and great aunt Lesley Baldwin praised Ian for his bravery and added, “He was so ill when they got married, but he was determined he wanted to stand and was going to do it properly.”

The ceremony was followed by a buffet put on by the hospice and Ian’s family said they could not thank the staff at St Wilfrid’s enough for the very special day.

Ian’s mum Sue Chorley said, “It was his wish that he have a baby before he died.

“To start with I thought they were mad, but we talked and I understood it was his dying wish.

“He wanted to leave a part of him here when he was gone.

“He has always been brilliant with children and is such a family man.”

Kelly added, “He just wanted to experience the things most people experience in their life – getting married and having children.”

Little baby Owen arrived at 11.46pm on January 13, allowing Ian to spend six precious days with his son.

Determined Ian was present when Owen, weighing 6.15lb, was delivered and Kelly and the little one then stayed at St Wilfrid’s for Ian’s final days.

His friends and family have paid tribute to a brave inspirational family man who was liked by everyone.

During his six-year battle, Ian had an operation to remove a tumour which meant he lost his eye and wore a patch for the last part of his life.

Mum Sue said, “He hated people looking when we were out but he was a family man, he loved his mum and he would let it stop him.

“He was determined to come shopping with me at Christmas but people did look at he hated it.

“I said to him once, I don’t know how you do it and he said he was able to push it to the side and shut the door on it. I couldn’t do that and he propped me up at times.”

Another of Ian’s close friends, Daryl Pryce, added, “There were occasions that I was in tears and he was hugging me and telling me not to worry.”

And god-mother Leslie said, “He was inspirational. He showed us what courage, dignity and bravery really means. It was like he just had a headache and he shrugged it off,”

Ian was known by Cheeky Chorley by many of his friends and was interested in cars. He loved driving his Subaru Impreza and was helping friend Daryl wash his car just a few months before his death.

Daryl added, “He would go out of his way for anyone and he was so sociable.”

Ian also leaves his nan Eveline, three younger brothers Sam, Jamie and Jack, older sister Emma, his uncle and aunt Jim and Jynette Mann and his mum’s partner Paul.

The popular man will also be missed by his other close friend Daniel Griffin.