Weddings – though joyous affairs – can be one of the hardest days if you’re missing a loved one that’s passed away.
Which is why one dad, James Jeynes, wasn’t going to let his wedding have anyone missing – especially not his son.
Lewis is just 13, but suffers from a rare terminal disease and doctors didn’t expect him to live beyond the age of 12.
And since he may not be here for much longer James, who is due to tie the knot with his second wife Emma Starkey next year in Portugal, decided to hold a ‘wedding’ early so Lewis could be there.
Importantly, so Lewis could join them as James’ best man.
James and his ex wife, Samantha Tolmie, split in 2008 when Lewis was just four.
While the special wedding won’t be legally binding, the ceremony will be held in Lewis’ mum’s garden in Doncaster.
James Jeynes and ex wife Samantha Tolmie split in 2008 when their son, who suffers a rare variant of the terminal illness Batten Disease, was four.
Lewis was diagnosed with the disease when he was two, and had up until then developed normally.
According to James, he used to walk and talk, chase the cat around the house and cheerfully greet everyone.
But one day he began limping and steadily lost use of his legs and arms, until he couldn’t swallow.
And now Lewis relies on machinery and carers to aid him.
“Lewis can’t travel so we wanted to make sure he had a chance to watch us get married,” James explained.
“We really want to share the day with Lewis because the reality is he probably won’t be here next year.
“We didn’t want to risk waiting.”
And even though it’s James’ and Emma’s wedding, James says it’ll definitely be “Lewis’ day”:
“He’s going to be my best man and that’s what it’s all about.
“We love him so much. It’s not about his illness at all. We want him to be right at the heart of our wedding.
“My fiance’s six-year-old daughter Poppy is a bridesmaid and Lewis’s mum will make a speech from him, and he’ll help carry the rings.”
Samantha, Lewis’ mum, said:
“James and Emma really want Lewis to be there but he is not going to be able to be there next year – that is why they’re having wedding part one.
“He is too ill to be able to talk about it, but he adores everyone, and he will really enjoy this.
“You can’t help but love Lewis. He’s adorable. He is cheeky and has the most wonderful smile.”
She added: “We’re so happy that we can do this for him.”
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