A soldier who lost a leg in a blast in Afghanistan has walked down the aisle to marry his bride seven years after meeting her at the funeral of a comrade.
Aron Shelton, 30, from Bridlington, survived the explosion that claimed the life of drummer Tom Wright, 21, in 2007.
He was in a wheelchair after losing his left leg as Callan Fowler, a family friend of Tom’s, gave him a hug at the graveside.
The pair started talking and swapped phone numbers before eventually falling in love.
The 24-year-old teaching assistant helped nurse the soldier through his injuries and recovery and became mother to their 17 month-old daughter Macie-Louise.
Seven years after his life was blown apart the pair have now tied the knot, and in an usual step the groom has decided to take on his wife’s name and is now Aron Fowler.
Mr Fowler, who has a prosthetic leg and suffers arthritis in his other, walked from the ceremony with his wife on his arm and Macie-Louise as flower girl.
And in the evening he took to the dancefloor with her for their traditional first dance as man and wife.
She said: “The day was just wonderful. I am so, so proud of Aron. It was so lovely to see him stood waiting for me at the ceremony.
“And we danced our first dance together to John Legend’s All of Me, it was just lovely.”
Tom Wright’s mum Judith was also invited to the ceremony at Makeney Hall Hotel in Belper, Derbyshire.
She said: “Callan became another member of the family. Tom knew her family through school but it wasn’t until Tom was killed that we met them.
“They have been wonderful to me and my husband. They are always there, especially in the first two years. They are there whenever you need them just for a cup of tea or anything.
“And Aron and Callan make such a lovely couple. Me and Callan’s mum talk about it all the time - we’d never have met if Tom was still here.”
The day didn’t go without hitch as the bridesmaids ended up being taken to the ceremony in two police cars when their limousine broke down.
Aron Fowler and Tom Wright were part of a group from 2 Mercian regiment in a Land Rover when they were hit by an improvised explosive device.
Mr Fowler underwent four life-saving operations before being flown to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
He was on morphine and in a wheelchair when he attended the funeral with a nurse.
Mrs Fowler, who now lives with her husband in Ripley, Derbyshire, was at the funeral because the fallen soldier was her brother’s best friend and she had grown up with him.
She recalled: “It was not a case of love at first sight or anything like that. Aron was in a really bad way.
“On the day of the funeral I went over to him and gave him a hug. He survived the blast that Tom didn’t.
“We swapped details and started writing to each other first before we eventually swapped phone numbers, and it went from there.”
Mr Fowler still struggles with his disability as he suffers with arthritis in his good leg and has been told he is facing a further amputation.
He won the support of people in his home town of Bridlington in 2010 after the Government cut his disability allowance. The decision was eventually overturned by a tribunal