Heartache of tragic fiancee

JUST four weeks ago Jo Andrews was celebrating her engagement to top non-league footballer Aaron Gardiner.However today she faced the prospect of burying her husband-to-be.

JUST four weeks ago Jo Andrews was celebrating her engagement to top non-league footballer Aaron Gardiner.

However today she faced the prospect of burying her husband-to-be.

The father-of-three passed away in his Ipswich home two weeks ago as the couple began preparations for their engagement party.

On the evening of his death 33-year-old Mr Gardiner was planning to book the venue for the celebration but following a pre-season run he collapsed and died.

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Miss Andrews, 23, said: "I am just lost. We did everything together and I feel like I have lost part of me.

"There wasn't anything that I felt we should have done or I should have said to him – we were so open with each other.

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"He would telephone me every morning and lunchtime and we would always say I love you. The only thing I could say to him now is I love you and I always will."

The couple met two years ago on a night out in Ipswich and, according to Miss Andrews, it was love at first sight.

A father and in the process of going through a divorce, Mr Gardiner lied about both his age and his circumstances when he first met his future fiancée.

"He lied to me because I said I didn't want this and I didn't want that and he had it all but you just look past that," Miss Andrews added.

"When you love somebody it breaks all of the barriers.

"We loved each other unconditionally and there was nothing to stop us. We were so strong together there was nothing that could split us up."

The couple's feelings for one another were summed up in the words of a song due to be played at Mr Gardiner's funeral in Long Melford today.

He loved the band Madness and used to play It Must Be Love to Miss Andrews.

She added: "He always used to play it to me. We were on our way home one day when he said 'babe this is my song to you,' that was at the beginning of our relationship."

Mr Gardiner's daughters Charleigh, eight, Genna, six, and Georgia, 10, picked one of the hymn's for today's service at Holy Trinity Church in Long Melford and were also due to read their thoughts on their father.

Miss Andrews added: "His children chose All Things Bright and Beautiful we wanted them to be as involved as possible and wanted them to have a song they knew. Their reading is going to break hearts.

"I don't think this has hit them yet because they are so young. He was a brilliant dad and did anything for his children. When him and his wife split up that is what hurt him the most that he couldn't see his children everyday but when they telephoned and wanted him he was always there – he adored all of them."

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