A Yorkshire brick layer who penned an emotional letter to his partner when he suffered a heart attack is now engaged and set to marry the love of his life this year.
When Terry Nodder, 51, who lives in Rotherham with his partner of 12 years, Emma Maycock, 41, a project manager, suffered a terrifying heart attack in March 2022, he wrote Emma a heartfelt letter declaring his undying love for her and wish to marry in fear that he wouldn’t survive.
Leaving his note on the kitchen table, Terry was rushed to hospital and luckily needed little intervention from medics, but the brick layer was shocked when Emma raced to hospital in floods of tears confronting him about his goodbye letter, telling Terry she was counting it as a proposal.
Overhauling his lifestyle and losing three stone, Terry has since hiked a 200-mile Cost to Coast Walk to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
But the real icing on the cake will be when he marries the woman he loves on June 5 2023, and he advises other potential grooms-to-be not to wait to pop the question.
“Just do it,” he said.
“You put things off for fear of the unknown. You’ve just got to attack it. Fear of failure is a massive thing; you don’t want to let anyone down.
“That’s been my issue previously, but you just have to go for it.”
Meeting Emma 12 years ago online, Terry said he always wanted to marry her but put off the big proposal due to financial worries.
“Emma had been asking to get married,” he said.
“But financial pressures, in my mind, were more important than a big fancy wedding. We moved to a new house two years previously and I was concerned about our financial security.”
However, when Terry started to feel unwell on March 8, his thoughts quickly turned to the love of his life.
“I had a burning sensation in the centre of my chest, but I thought it was acid reflux,” he said.
“I didn’t sleep all night. I couldn’t settle and I was a bit sick. Emma went to work that morning and I stayed home.
“I thought I’m just going to check my symptoms online and it said I was having a potential heart attack.
“I called 999 and I packed myself a bag.”
Terrified he wouldn’t survive, Terry penned a heartfelt letter to Emma.
“I didn’t want to leave the building, shall we say, and not put her mind in place about how I feel about her,” he said.
“We’ve been together a long time and we’d always talked about getting married one day, so in the letter I explained what she meant to me and that if those financial constraints weren’t there, I’d marry her in a heartbeat.”
Leaving his love letter on the kitchen table, Terry was rushed to hospital where medics checked over his heart.
“I didn’t mention it as there was enough going on,” he said.
“I had an ECG and the paramedic said there was definitely a discrepancy so they took me to hospital.
“But it was too late to get a stent fitted as I’d passed the window of opportunity, so any damage that has been done is done.”
And when Emma rushed to hospital she confronted Terry about his loving letter.
“Emma broke down in tears when she visited me,” he said.
“She said you do know I’ve got this letter now and you’ve got no more excuses about not getting married, this counts as a proposal!”
And with his newfound lease on life, Terry overhauled his lifestyle to better his health.
“I have a proper approach to food now,” he said.
“I’ve been doing jogging as well as lightweights like press squats using kettlebell and things like that. I wasn’t very heavy, I’m 5”9 and was 14 stone, but I was chunky.
“I lost three stone over seven months.”
“My dad’s side and my mum’s side both have a history of heart problems. Out of the family members that have had heart attacks, I’m the only one that survived.”
And thanks to his newfound lease on life Terry completed the Coast-to-Coast Walk, a gruelling 10-day 200-mile long hike, from St Bees in the Lake District to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, raising £800 for the British Heart Foundation.
“I did the Coast to Coast Walk for my cousin, Bernard, who passed away last year,” said Terry.
“He had a heart attack in the night. I took a can of Carling Black Label with me in his honour.
“The walk was a brilliant experience. It was very tough as there are a lot of hills and tough terrain, but even when I was wet and tired, I was determined to finish and support the British Heart Foundation.
“They helped a lot after my heart attack. I had pamphlets about changing my diet and cholesterol level, which helped me make the changes I needed.”
But the real icing on the cake for Terry will be when he ties the knot with Emma in front of 60 guests.
“I can’t wait to marry Emma,” said Terry.
“We’re getting married at a hall in Sheffield, just slightly out of town. I think we have about 40 guests in the day and 60 coming in the evening.
“It’s a pretty traditional wedding, but we’re hoping to get married outside if the weather holds up.”
And Emma can’t wait to marry the love of her life.
“I’m really excited,” she said.
“I think it’s something really lovely to come out of pretty a horrible situation.
“I find the letter hard to read. I’ve only read it once since because I find it so upsetting to refer back to what happened.
“But then I think it’s just made us both kind of be more positive. It does make you realise that life’s very short and you’ve got to make most of it.”