Groom dies after Royal London Hospital wedding
AN EAST End patient has lost his battle with a fatal illness only two weeks after marrying his long-lost love at the Royal London Hospital. Lionel Hancock died from kidney failure on Tuesday morning at the age of 75 after marrying Angela Saunders at an
AN EAST End patient has lost his battle with a fatal illness only two weeks after marrying his long-lost love at the Royal London Hospital.
Lionel Hancock died from kidney failure on Tuesday morning at the age of 75 after marrying Angela Saunders at an emotional ceremony at the hospital.
The couple were reunited in January after spending 40 years apart.
They were planning to exchange their vows in the summer but after Lionel was admitted to the Royal London in May and told he could not have dialysis because of his heart problems, they decided within a week to marry.
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And only a few days after tying the knot, Lionel was discharged from hospital and spent the last few weeks of his life at his home with Angela, 64, in White Horse Lane in Stepney.
He was taken to the Royal London on Monday night where he died, with Angela and his son Ian by his side.
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The former teacher said: "I just never expected it to be this quick and now I have lost my best friend and my soul mate.
"But I am so happy that I married him and I feel so proud and privileged to have been in his life. He really wanted to get married and he was so happy that day.
"He had the most amazing sense of humour. He was only in hospital for two weeks but in that time he just made all the staff laugh.
"He was a very modest man with so much integrity. He was a great father and loved his son to bits."
The couple first met when Angela was a 23-year-old PE teacher and Lionel worked for the East London Sports Association.
But they went their separate ways and it was not until Lionel's friend contacted Angela in January and told her about his illness, that the couple met again.
And within two weeks Lionel proposed and they exchanged their vows in front of a registrar and surrounded by family, friends and doctors and nurses from the hospital's renal ward.
Lionel served with the RAF during the Second World War and went on to become a chief rent officer for Tower Hamlets council.
He worked with stroke and diabetes support groups in the borough after suffering two strokes and he volunteered for Age Concern Tower Hamlets.
He raised cash for the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green through the Mulberry Heart Association.
His funeral will be held on Thursday next week (8) at St Dunstan's Church in White Horse Lane in Stepney and then City of London Crematorium in Manor Park.