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‘Local celebrity’ from Poplar marries partner of 16 years after discovering he has weeks to live

PUBLISHED: 14:23 06 March 2018

Eric and Jane, just married. Picture: Paul Catlin

Eric and Jane, just married. Picture: Paul Catlin

Archant

A ‘local celebrity’ from Poplar who’s been given weeks to live married his partner of 16 years on Thursday.

Eric, Jane, and Jane's brother, who gave them away. Picture: Paul CatlinEric, Jane, and Jane's brother, who gave them away. Picture: Paul Catlin

Jane Harvey, 52, from Wapping, met Eric Meighan, 65, on the bus home from work in November, 2001.

“I got on at Aldgate and sat down next to him,” Jane said.

“His lovely deep baritone voice struck me right away. He’s got this Barry White voice, he was very handsome.

“We just got chatting, and the rest is history I suppose.”

Eric and Jane, just married. Picture: Paul CatlinEric and Jane, just married. Picture: Paul Catlin

That night, the couple ended up in the same pub, then the same house party. Eric was a friend of Jane’s elder brother.

“Within two days, he’d got in touch with me,” she said.

“Three months later he was practically living at mine, and I was at his. It was full on right from the off.”

The couple, who now live in Bancroft Road in Mile End, got Jane’s brother’s seal of approval. He gave her away at the ceremony in St Bart’s Great Hall.

“We’d been talking about getting married for years, but hadn’t because of financial reasons,” she said.

“He wanted a big do and that’s not something I always wanted. He knows so many people that it’d have to be a big do, but it never materialised.

“In view of what’s happened, we decided it was time.”

Eric was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in November. Three weeks ago, his body started to reject immunotherapy treatment, and doctors gave him weeks left to live. With no time to lose, the couple decided to get married.

“It will be just wonderful,” Jane said the day before the wedding. “We have about 40 people coming. My sister was coming from Colchester and she was going to be making the bouquets, bringing the rings, and it’s her dress I was going to be wearing. But she’s snowed in!”

The couple’s first dance was ‘If this world were mine’ by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, a song reminding them of when they first met.

“He’s a very lovely, very compassionate man,” Jane said.

“The whole of East London must know him, he’s got friends everywhere. He would treat the man on the street the same way he would the Queen, that’s the kind of guy he is.”

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