A former soldier who lost a leg in a blast in Afghanistan has proudly walked down the aisle to marry his bride – who he met 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 teaching assistant Callan Fowler, a family friend of Tom’s, gave him a hug at the grave side.
The pair got chatting and swapped phone numbers and eventually fell in love.
Callan helped nurse Aron through his injuries and recovery and became mother to their 17 month-old daughter Macie-Louise.
Aron, who has a prosthetic leg and suffers arthritis in his other, walked from the ceremony with Callan, 24, 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.
Callan 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’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.” Aron and Tom were part of a group from 2 Mercian regiment in a Land Rover when they were hit by an IED. Aron 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.
Callan, who now lives with Aron in Ripley, Derbyshire, was at the funeral as 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.”
In a buck with tradition Aron has decided to take on his wife’s name and is now Aron Fowler.
But Aron still struggles with his disability as he suffers with arthritis in his good leg and has been told he is facing a further amputation.