Louise Ayre talks to Rachel Hurst about the charity football match she organised after her fiancé died suddenly
For many who suffer a devastating loss, the idea of hiding away from the rest of the world is all too appealing.
But 26-year-old Louise Ayre isn’t one to bury her head in the sand.
Following the loss of her fiancé, Adam Swarbrick, Louise channelled her grief into organising a charity football match that raised a staggering £15,000 on what should have been her wedding day.
Speaking on her way to Center Parcs for a girls’ weekend of gossip, and more importantly, wine, Louise told WWW how nervous she was before the football match.
“Because we’d put so much planning into Saturday the night before I was thinking that I hoped it all ran smoothly, or on my head be it, so I was more nervous about that rather than ‘tomorrow should be my wedding day.’”
When it came to the morning of the charity match Louise was so focused about the organisation that she didn’t have time to think about what she might have been doing.
And later in the day, supported by her best friend and former chief bridesmaid, Sam, Louise went down to visit Adam’s grave to lay a single flower.
Louise says; “That’s when I got upset and thought, ‘This isn’t fair, I should be getting married instead’.
“That was really, really, really tough but then I thought, do you know what, dust yourself off and carry on and get back into organiser mode again.
“It was tough, that was the worst part of the day – until I tore the ligaments in my foot,” she laughs.
Hundreds of supporters packed into the Riverside ground of Garstang FC on Saturday, October 27, to watch Louise take part in a charity football match along with Adam’s family and their best friends.
Forty-seven players took part, including past and present players from the club.
Louise says: “We knew we had sold a lot of tickets so we kind of knew rough numbers but it was at night when we did the auction that I looked out and thought, ‘My God, there’s loads of people!’”
“The marquee that we’d hired was absolutely jam-packed – you couldn’t move. Everyone was smiling and laughing and having a good time.
“Considering we’d never organised anything before in our lives it was nice to see.”Adam, who died after a massive heart attack on September 2, was clearly at the forefront of everyone’s minds, as the match raised a staggering £15,000.
Louise continues: “That’s why everyone gave so generously because of what the day would have been and I think everything tied into one.
“The money will go to the intensive care unit at Lancaster hospital.
“We want to give them something so the staff can have a bit of a night out and something for themselves rather than it all be spent on equipment.
“There’s enough to go round so we think we’ll be paying for their Christmas night out and then whatever they need doing to the unit itself.”
She adds: “We are just doing various charity events. We have a ladies evening on November 24 at Garstang Gold Club.
“Again, the fundraising from that will go to CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) which is what the ADAM appeal will donate to and a couple of people have asked me to help organise events in memory of Adam,”
“I’m allowing myself time to sit down and think and stuff but I’m just keeping busy and plodding on.”
This week, the couple should have been flying out to Australia on their honeymoon but Louise is determined to stay focused
She says; “I’m having a bit of chill-out time at the moment. On Wednesday I should have flown out to Australia so this week has been really difficult.
“I’ve been very teary but it’s just putting things into perspective, really.
“Before Adam died I was a Zumba instructor but I just felt that was something I couldn’t go back to doing.
“As much as I loved it my mind just wasn’t in the right place to smile and be brave every night of the week so I’ve got a new job starting at the end of November.”
And as well as a new job, Louise has a new arrival.
“I have a nine-week-old springer spaniel puppy called Lady who is keeping me very entertained. She’s gorgeous but she’s a little terror. We’re going to keep each other out of mischief, I think.”
Despite the burden of her loss, Louise has been lifted by the help and support of those closest to her and Adam.
“Not a lot of my friends really knew each other but since Adam has died the network has expanded even more and everyone has become a lot closer.
“Each and every one of my friends has been fantastic. They’ve all checked I’ve been okay, they’ve kept me busy.
“It really is fantastic and I could never thank any of them enough for what they’ve done for me, they’ve been amazing. Even Adam’s friends like the footie lads send me texts now and then to see how I am.
“Adam would have been really, really proud of what we’ve achieved and would probably laugh at me for injuring my ankle!
“I’ve said it a million times but I think he would be totally overwhelmed that so many people thought so much of him to get down to the charity match and to get donating.
“I feel very loved.”