The wife of a former Preston student who lost his battle with cancer at the age of just 24 today paid tribute to him.
Jonny Saunders, who studied at UCLan, lost his fight against a rare bone cancer just one month after marrying his long-term girlfriend Adella, from Preston, who he proposed to at Disneyland.
The pair both studied on the journalism course and met at the student union bar during their first month at university back in 2006 and began dating the following year. After graduating the couple embarked on a long-distance relationship, travelling between Preston and Jonny’s hometown of Tring, Hertfordshire.
After the sports-mad journalist was diagnosed with cancer in July last year Adella gave up her job as a PA in Preston and headed to Tring so they could spend as much time together as possible.
They brought their wedding forward after being advised by doctors the cancer had spread and married at Bartle Hall Hotel in Preston in August. Jonny died on September 4.
Adella, 24, said: “Jonny was the loveliest person, he was so kind, gentle, caring, funny and generous. Nobody had a bad word to say about him. He was loyal to his friends, honest, and always a gentleman.
“We were really close friends and he asked me out on Valentine’s Day by hiding a red rose in his coat.
“He was very romantic and used to hide cream eggs or gingerbread men in my coat hood or handbag, and he used to buy me flowers and books from my favourite authors. Our plan was to save up and buy a house down south and then get married.
“But when Jonny was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, after suffering pain in his groin, it was decided not to wait any longer to live together so I left my job in Preston and went to live with Jonny at his parent’s house.”
Adella says the pair never let the illness get them down, and continued to plan for the future. Jonny continued in his job as a reporter at the Hemel Gazette, enjoying it so much that he even asked for work to be emailed to him at home.
She said: “I was very proud of Jonny. He had always been determined and worked really hard to achieve his ambitions.
“This last year we had so much fun despite Jonny undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“In February this year Jonny proposed to me during a trip to Disneyland Paris; he got down on one knee with a microphone in a bar in front of everyone!
“I am a shy person and was really taken aback, but it was such a wonderful moment and I will never, ever forget it.”
The couple were due to marry in August, 2013, but in May were devastated when doctors told them the cancer had spread and if they wanted to get married they should do it as soon as possible.
They moved it to the end of August, but were again advised to move it forward.
Adella said: “Our top priority was to get married, so on August 6 we had our dream day at Bartle Hall Hotel.”