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Selfie before a stabbing: Hours later teacher knifed by mugger

A primary school teacher posed for a selfie with his pals just hours before he was stabbed in the street by thugs trying to steal his phone.    

Ryan Wayne, 26, was left bleeding in a Birmingham city centre street after two thrusts of a knife lacerated his liver and punctured his lung.

The muggers wanted the phone visible in the picture he took in the mirror with his friends before going on a night out on February 17.

As they walked home, Ryan and his friend Brody were stopped by two men who demanded their phones and money. When Ryan refused, they stabbed him.

Brody's prompt action saved Ryan's life and he was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he underwent surgery, and spent a week in a coma.

Less than three months on, as knife crime continues to spiral, Ryan is determined to raise awareness about the dangers of carrying a knife and convince people to ditch their weapons.

Ryan said: 'I'd been on a night out with my friends in the city centre, and I was walking home with a friend.

'These two guys approached us and demanded we hand over our things. I'm quite stubborn and I just said "No you're not having it".

'That's when he attacked me. I didn't insult him in any way, I didn't tell him to f***off. He just stabbed me.'

At first Ryan didn't realise that he'd been knifed, and fled his attackers. But it quickly became clear he was seriously injured. Soon, he was bleeding badly.

Ryan said: 'Adrenaline and shock takes over at that point, and I tried to run home and get some help. I didn't know what had happened.

'But then I looked down and I saw it all. And I thought "Oh my God, I've been stabbed".

'My friend Brody helped me. If it wasn't for him I think I definitely wouldn't be here today. I'm so thankful for what he did that night. He stayed with me, he kept me awake while the paramedics came.'

Within five minutes an ambulance and police arrived at the scene and rushed Ryan to the trauma centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Ryan said: 'I was absolutely terrified. I thought I was going to die. I thought "This is it".

'From the moment the paramedics arrived I don't remember anything, and I was asleep for a week. It's so strange to wake up and a week has passed. I didn't know where I was.'

While Ryan was in a coma, surgeons had performed two life-saving operations, repairing his liver and lung.

After a week in intensive care and a week on Ward 726, Ryan was discharged on March 1.

Ryan, a school teacher in Yardley, said: 'The hardest part wasn't the wounds or the pain. It was seeing my mum, dad and sisters so upset.

'It was gut-wrenching - but I just felt so amazed that my life had been saved. The care I received was absolutely incredible. The main thing is that I'm still here.'

While he was in hospital, best friend Craig Butler, who was also out with Ryan on that fateful night, decided to raise money for the hospital that had saved his life.

Craig raised £1,162 to help fund a mobile CT scanner, which will help save others.

Ryan has made a near miraculous recovery, and following his latest scan was told that his liver is now healed.

But he says that while he physically recovered, it is the long-term emotional damage that will be the most challenging to overcome.

He has become understandably wary about walking around the city alone after dark, and is now more aware of the potential dangers that face us every day.

Ryan said: 'I'm still reluctant to go out at night in the dark. It instils more anxiety and fear in you. But to combat that I've thrown myself into knife crime awareness.' 

Just weeks after being discharged from hospital, Ryan has written and produced an educational knife crime workshop, which he plans to present to the pupils at his primary school.

Following that, he hopes to present his workshop at other schools across the city, sharing his story with children before they might consider carrying a knife.

Ryan said: 'I really feel that educating children and intervening at a young age is vital in reducing knife crime.

'It's about teaching children about how to act if their friend or brother or sister decide to start carrying a knife. How can we save lives?'

Ryan has written a passionate letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid about his experience, outlining what he thinks needs to be done to tackle the knife epidemic.

Ryan said: 'He wrote me a personal reply saying he was totally on board with what I was saying, and that he would be putting more money into workshops in primary and secondary schools. That's when I had the idea to do my own.'

Ryan admits that the workshops have helped him turn this night of horror into something positive, and have also helped him with his emotional recovery. Quite simply, he feels like he can make a difference.

Ryan said: 'The knife crime numbers are astronomical at the moment. But we all live in a this "risk-free" bubble and think it couldn't happen to us, it happens to other people.

'There were 40,000 knife incidents last year up to September, and still you think 'That won't happen to me'.

'I've got a good job, I live in a nice area - you don't think it will affect you, you're not part of a gang.

'So when it happened to me it was like that bubble had been popped, and I was terrified. I didn't know if I was going to make it or not.

'At that point I was very close to death.'

Ryan says people need to remember that knife crime has a ripple effect. As well as putting himself and his family through heartache, the same can be said for the families of the attackers.

Ryan said: 'It's not just one person. This violence causes pain to me, but also my family, to my friends, to the pupils I teach, to their parents.

'The ripple goes on and on. And it also affects the assailants.

'I worry that people have become desensitised to stabbings because they are happening all the time. That's why I want to share my story.

'I almost got killed for what? A mobile phone and some change?

'I'll never know whether I still would have been stabbed if I'd handed over the phone.

'But people shouldn't feel like they need to carry knives. It needs to stop. We need to understand the reasons behind it.

'The next person might not be so lucky.'

Ryan has organised an 18-mile charity awareness walk on June 30 from Lichfield city centre to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

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Fake CCTV Camera To Get Kids To Behave Ahead Of Christmas

A mum has come up with an ingenious way of making her kids behave themselves during the festive period, having installed a fake CCTV camera in the front room and telling the family that Santa's watching.

We can all get a little bit carried away around Christmas, whether that involves a few too many bevs at the work do or falling out with our siblings over who gets to put the star on top of the tree.

But Delaney McGuire, 26, and her husband Tony have managed to find a 'budget friendly' way to get their children to behave during all the excitement, having installed a fake surveillance camera in the house.

Delaney, from Little Elm in Aubrey, Texas, told LADbible: "We were casually shopping at Five Below and came across fake cameras.

"My husband then thought of the idea to install them or - 'Santa' to install them - to keep an eye on them.

"My kids are great, but just have a hard time when it comes to chores. We were hoping for this to be a fun/creative way to drive them to do more.

"Elf on the Shelf just wasn't for us, so we decided to think outside the box... and budget friendly!"

Mum-of-four Delaney, who is the director of Kids R Kids Learning Academy, said her children instantly took to the challenge.

She said: "The kids immediately reacted with excitement and curiosity. They right away wanted to impress Santa, and started asking for things to do.

"I gave them a basket of laundry that needed folding and they got to it right away.

"They now fight about who is doing the most chores vs. who is getting the remote."

After sharing a photo of the CCTV camera in action, the post soon went viral and has now racked up 74,000 likes and 123,000 shares.

Delaney said the reaction from other parents has been generally positive, saying: "When we posted this, we only intended it to be for our close friends and family to see.

"Once it went viral we got to see lots of different opinions. Most of the comments were very positive and thought it was a great and clever idea!"

Delaney continued: "I have been a childcare professional for more than 10 years now. I know how to redirect my children positively and show them how to be respectful and behave.

"We used this tool for one area that most kids don't like, which is cleaning.

"We don't feel guilty for it, we are just using a different and fun method of getting their chores done.

"It may not work in three months, but for now we will take it!"

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Actor who is just 3ft 7in tall, becomes one of Britain's shortest dads

A man born with dwarfism has become one of Britain's shortest dads after welcoming his first child. 

Actor James Lusted, 30, from Wales, who is just 3ft 7in, had to climb a step-ladder to marry his wife Chloe who towers over him at 5ft 8in.

And two-and-a-half years after their dream wedding, James, 30, and teacher Chloe, 25, have welcomed the birth of daughter Olivia Nevaeh.

James said: 'Holding my daughter in my arms is definitely in the top two of the best things I've ever done. Marrying Chloe was the other best day of my life.

'There are no words to describe the love we feel for Olivia. We are both overwhelmed by emotion and have never felt love like this before.

'When Olivia was first born I was just blown away by it all. I can't really describe the moment in words. 

'When the nurses placed her in my arms I'd have died for them both, that's all I can say. We are both utterly smitten.'

Olivia - who arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 3oz - was allowed home with mum and dad in Colwyn Bay, North Wales just 24 hours after being born.

James was born with a type of genetic dwarfism called diastrophic displasia but has not handed the condition down to his daughter.

James said: 'Olivia is just perfect. The paediatrician discharged her and said she was a perfect little baby and she really is.

'Chloe feeds her and she goes to sleep at midnight and wakes up at 5am. I am guessing she is so relaxed because Chloe and I are so laid back and she senses that.

'We'd love more children in the future but for now we are just fine and are enjoying every moment with Olivia. 

'Being her dad is the best feeling ever and we are cherishing every single moment.'

James says Chloe had a near perfect pregnancy and her only cravings was for anything orange - especially Capri-Sun drinks.

Baby Olivia arrived three days late and Chloe's labour lasted just over seven hours.

James says: 'It was all going well but then Chloe needed an emergency assisted delivery. 

'The doctors gave her a spinal block and soon after Olivia was born. She had her first feed within 40 minutes of being born. It was wonderful and amazing.'

James - who is also a Tory councillor - is currently rehearsing for a role in the Wizard of Oz with former glamour model Linda Lusardi where he is playing the wizard.

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Florida father defends 'free-range parenting' his four-year-old

Florida couple lets their four-year-old swear, play with knives and fire, and run in the street after dark all by himself — and they insist it's what's good for him.

Nimesh Patel, 38, and Teena, 40, are proponents of 'free-range parenting,' choosing to let their young son Naylan get dirty, get hurt, and test his boundaries.

But while many of the things that the little boy is allowed to do would raise eyebrows from other parents and childless adults alike, Nimesh told the New York Post that they're just giving Naylan the same freedom that they had as kids. 

'As a kid in the ’80s and ’90s, we could go two to three miles away from home. It’s not a new concept,' said Nimesh, who grew up in Fort Myers and now lives in Orlando. 

When he and his wife were kids, he went on, they could be outside and climb trees, even if it meant coming home with bumps and bruises.

Now, he and Teena let Naylan do the same — and also allow him to cut food with sharp kitchen knives, use tools like hammers, and play around fire.

He's permitted to choose his bedtime — and tends to crawl into his parents' bed after midnight — as well as run in the street with his dog after dark, all by himself.

His language isn't policed, either, and Naylan has been known to curse and drop F-bombs. 

All of these things, Nimesh said, amount to giving their son freedom.

'All of these helicopter parents used to run and play. The freedom they had as a kid, they aren’t giving that to their children,' he said. 

'Everyone is so worried the kids will break. Kids have been around for thousands of years. They don’t break.' 

Of course, some people will argue that the issue isn't necessarily that kids will 'break,' but that letting them loose puts them at the mercy of other people.

But Nimesh insists that there aren't the dangers out there that people think there are. 

'There aren't a million predators to take your kid every day. It’s as rare as being struck by lightning,' he said.

His wife Teena, who is from Kenya and studied at both the University of Central Florida, and the University of Phoenix, and also brings that attitude to her work. 

She is the founder of A Barefoot Village, an 'outdoor school, dirty school, play school and forest kindergarten' where kids aged three to eight are allowed to cut fruit with knives, play on a wooden seesaw.

Photos on the camp's website show elementary school-age children using wire cutters and hammers, climbing on yard equipment, playing on wooden jungle gyms, and even lifting bricks up stairs.

On the website, Teena states that one of the goals of her work has been to 'develop physical environments in which children feel safe, and can engage in uninhibited play'. 

'As naturalists we are committed to inspiring and teaching respect for the earth and all its creatures and this includes modeling and fostering respect for self and for others at all times,' the website continues. 

'We encourage cooperative activities, guiding children into co-creative adventures. We have a zero tolerance policy for hitting, grabbing, pushing, name calling, aggressiveness, bullying or any other demeaning behavior.'

The camp is also described as being 'entirely outdoor', and parents are warned that their child will 'encounter sun, rain, insects, dirt, sand, and mud, glorious mud, on their adventures'. 

Teena, who is a certified dog trainer and canine behavior specialist, and Nimesh also run a doggy daycare called the University of Doglando, where they provide indoor and outdoor spaces for canines - including a 'private doggy beach'. 

'Doglando’s mission is to provide lifetime experiences that improve and enhance the behavioral health of companion dogs,' Teena's LinkedIn page states. 'This includes the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of dogs. 

'[Teena] is passionate about giving dogs opportunities to learn and explore, which in turn creates happier companion dogs in the home, at the groomer, and everywhere in between. At the same time, she strives to educate dog owners about what the ideal canine companionship experience can look like.

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Summer Monteys-Fullam, 24, moves into her mother's house after dumping boyfriend Paul Hollywood, 53

Summer Monteys-Fullam was pictured moving her belongings into her mother's home in Kent after dumping boyfriend Paul Hollywood on Wednesday.

The barmaid, 24, decided to call it quits on her relationship with the Great British Bake Off star, 53, after he asked her to sign a legal gagging order prohibiting her from talking about their relationship.

Sources say the pair are 'over for good' - just days after Paul finalised his bitter divorce with his ex-wife of 21 years Alexandra. 

An insider told the Sun: 'Paul told Summer she needed to sign the NDA and that it was no big deal. 

'Summer flat-out said no. In the days that followed Paul got his lawyers to call Summer on her mobile to try and get her to sign it.'

Summer, who is 29 years younger than Paul, moved out of his £1million mansion and is said to be left furious over his 'controlling behaviour'.

Summer, who was clad in a red crop top and white skinny jeans, arrived at the house in a 4x4 and was spotted unloading suitcases from the vehicle.

The non-disclosure agreement (NDA) would reportedly have stopped Summer from discussing personal details of their relationship, including their sex lives and his wealth, with her family and friends. 

Summer had been expecting a proposal following Hollywood's divorce with long-standing now ex-wife Alexandra but was instead 'heartbroken' that he had asked her to sign the document, reports The Mirror. 

After Paul presented her with the document she is believed to have refused to sign it and stormed out of the luxury pad they share on Wednesday.

Upon returning to collect her things from Paul's house on Friday night the pair are reported to have got into a 'petty' row with Paul telling Summer: 'Why don't you f*** off back on that horse you rode in on', according to The Sun on Sunday.

Gifts from the Bake off star to his younger lover were also subject for dispute.

Extravagant purchases made by Paul for Summer include a £100,000 Range Rover SVR, a £9,000 hot tub for her birthday and a £9,000 ring, some of which the bake off star has stopped Summer from accessing since the split.

Among the contentious possessions were the couple's furry and feathered friends.

While Hollywood agreed to give Summer custody of their rottweiler puppy and horses, he drew the line at their coop of chickens that he said must stay with him, one of whom is named Karen, reports The Sun on Sunday. 

A source told the publication: 'Summer told him that she didn't want any of the gifts he'd given her, and that she was returning to take what was rightfully hers.

'That's when he lost it and started effing and blinding.'

The Mail on Sunday understood that on Friday night, two days after Summer moved her belongings – including her dogs – out of the couple’s home, Paul drowned his sorrows in The Bell pub where the former barmaid worked.

Onlookers claimed Paul became furious after seeing the story break online, leaving him in no doubt that the romance is over for good.

Summer had told him their relationship was over on Wednesday evening. But despite her beginning to move her belongings into her mother Sabina’s house in nearby Ickham, Paul still hoped that the couple would rekindle their romance.

He was shocked to learn that the news of their split had been leaked. It is now understood that he suspects someone close to Summer sold the story to a newspaper – and he is determined to discover the identity of the mole.

One friend said: ‘Paul thought he had control of the situation but he lost it. He feels like Summer turned him over.’

In May, the couple celebrated her 24th birthday with a day at Chester races.

Alexandra is currently on holiday abroad with friends following her decree nisi being granted two weeks ago by a judge at the Central Family Court in London. District judge Robert Duddridge ruled that Alexandra found it ‘intolerable’ to live with Hollywood and accepted the chef was guilty of adultery and unreasonable behaviour. 

She is now preparing to fight for half of Paul’s fortune but he is insisting she also signs a gagging order. One friend of the couple said last night: ‘This is not straightforward at all. Alex is away at the moment and is trying to move on from all of this.

‘She is trying not to think about it – she just wants to get on with the divorce and continue to move forward but there are some demands, like her agreeing not to tell all about him.’ 

Paul’s solicitor Tom Amlot confirmed the star and Summer split because she refused to sign the non-disclosure agreement, citing the baker’s bid to keep his family live private.

The lawyer said: ‘I asked Summer to sign an NDA as is standard practice in order to protect Paul’s family and their private lives.

‘Summer insisted that she had no intention of selling any stories to the press and declined.

‘I think that her refusal to discuss or sign it caused concern, understandably, so it’s not entirely surprising that they have gone their separate ways.’

On Saturday, Summer’s mother Sabina and her stepfather Richard said they did not want to comment when asked about their daughter’s relationship.

Paul first met Summer while organising a birthday party for his Alex at his local pub, the Duke William, in Ickham, Kent, where she worked. 

The pair went public with their romance in the same month his split with his wife was confirmed.

In their whirlwind two years of dating, Paul gifted Summer a £9,000 hot tub for her birthday, while earlier this year he treated her to a £9,000 ring and £1,000 Rottweiler puppy, Bear.

The loved-up couple have also jetted off on luxurious holidays to Mauritius and the Swiss Alps.

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A Mum went to docs feeling 'bit rundown' and was stunned by diagnosis

Like many mums, Julie McNeill was busy and felt a 'bit rundown.'

She'd just moved house and was looking after her poorly mum whilst working and running around after her three kids.

A couple of colds proved hard to shake off then she had some dental work which led to an infection.

Her doctor put her on antibiotics but all were surprised when she developed jaundice.

Blood tests showed she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

"When I got the diagnosis, I felt disbelief," said Julie, a medical secretary from Kenilworth.

She added: "I'd lost my brother to the same thing when he was just 22. It had not even crossed my mind that anyone in my family might have it again. For two siblings to get it is a one in a million chance."

It was February 2016 when Julie got her diagnosis and she was caring for her mum who had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer two weeks before Christmas 2015.

Her youngest daughter Maddie was just eight and her eldest Kate was 21 and pregnant, expecting her first baby in the August. Her son Ben was 17.

"I had thought my tiredness was just down to looking after my mum," said Julie, now 48, who also cares for her brother who has special needs.

"Sadly she passed away in April 2016 right in the middle of my treatment. It was really difficult.

"I had six months of intensive chemotherapy and, during that time, I was at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for five weeks with limited access because of risk of infections.

"Maddie was at primary school and had to be separated from me for a long time. She really struggled.

"Kate was pregnant and needed her mum. It was hard for all of them but we're a strong family and we all look after each other."

Julie had a stem cell transplant from a donor in Germany in July 2016 and came out of hospital the week before Kate had her baby Harry.

"I was on the top floor of the hospital having my Hickman line take out whilst my daughter was giving birth downstairs.

"Honestly, you could write a book about all that's happened."

Fortunately, the transplant was a success and Julie went into remission.

"I thought it was all over and thank god we'd got through the worst of it. Now we just had to keep going.

"Then I got the call to say I needed to go back into hospital. Your heart sinks because you know something's not right. It's heartbreaking."

A routine screening in October 2018 suggested the cancer had returned and, further tests showed it had mutated into a rare, life-threatening condition called Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

She underwent further intensive treatment which included additional stem cells from her donor and a course of immunotherapy drugs but sadly all attempts failed to get her cancer free.

Her only chance now is a second line immunotherapy drug called Dasatinib, which due to funding restrictions, is not available on the NHS.

This means the McNeills need to raise £36,600 for a 12 month treatment plan.

They launched a JustGiving campaign in July and have already raised around £6,300 - enough to fund two months of treatment.

"They said we would have to pay for it because it's so rare there are not enough cases to show it would work. This is despite the fact we have found lots of cases to prove that this drug does work.

"It's so frustrating that the NHS will not pay for it. I'm really hoping that when I can show from my blood tests that it is working that they will pay for it then.

"If I go into remission, I will need to be on it for life. But it could take up to a year for me to go into remission."

Meanwhile Chris was putting in extra hours with his maintenance engineer company to pay the bills and make up for Julie's loss of earnings.

In May 2018, he suffered a TIA mini stroke, thought to have been brought on by stress.

"He was driving home and he felt very ill," said Julie.

"When he got home he started leaning to one side and couldn't speak properly. I knew straight away what was happening and called 999.

"He was treated immediately and, thankfully, made a full recovery."

"We think it was down to the longer hours he was putting in to make up for me not working as much. He had so much pressure on his shoulders to look after me and find two incomes."

It was a wake up call for the family that their lifestyles needed to change and Chris is now working as a building supervisor for a local firm.

Julie started back at work around 18 months ago.

The family are fundraising for Julie and making sure every moment counts.

"I get very tired because of this drug," she said.

"One of the main symptoms is fatigue and nausea but I try to carry on as best I can. I've been through worse.

"It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming until the unexpected happens.

"What's happened has changed everything. We live each day as it comes now as you don't know what's round the corner for any of us.

"One day we were a normal family and the next everything turned upside down.

"Different things are important now. We're enjoying family days out and meeting up with our extended family for picnic. It's about making memories.

"I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy, I owe that to my family."

"The thing about life is that it is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift not a given right but I am asking you all for your help in giving me those guaranteed days.

"I am not the type to ask for help, certainly not for money, I am asking for my children to keep their mum, a husband to keep his wife and a brother to keep his sister.

"We would be so very grateful in any way, for your donations, no matter how small to help us achieve our target."

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A 32-year-old Indian man dyed his hair white, used a wheelchair, and pretended to be 81 so he could fly to the US on a fake passport, police say


A 32-year-old Indian man dressed as an 81-year-old man in an apparent attempt to fly to the US on a fake passport, the Indian police say.

Jayesh Patel was arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport by India's Central Industrial Security Force in New Delhi at 10:45 p.m. on Sunday, the Indian outlet NDTV reported.

Patel tried to board a flight to New York using a passport with the fake name of Amrik Singh, an 81-year-old born in Delhi in February 1938, the Central Industrial Security Force said.

"Our screener asked the person in the wheelchair to stand. He said that he cannot stand. Our screener asked if he would stand with support. He reluctantly stood up."

Hemendra Singh, a representative for CISF, told the Indian news agency IANS that Patel "even tricked the initial security check and got his immigration cleared."

Singh added: "CISF was suspicious about him as his voice didn't match his age. Despite gray hair, his skin seemed to be quite young as there were hardly any wrinkles on his face."

The CISF said Patel admitted to impersonating an old man and using a fake passport.

Sanjay Bhatia, a senior police officer with the Delhi Police, told NDTV that Patel "was planning to go to the US for a job."

"His beard was grown and hair was dyed gray," Bhatia said. "He was made to wear a pair of thick glasses and a turban. He was also instructed to walk like an elderly person."

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Teenage daughters stage wedding pictures with their terminally ill dad

A mother helped her two teenage daughters stage wedding photos and first dances with their terminally ill father after learning that he only has a few months to live. 

In a moving Facebook post, Nicole Halbert, 41, from Tomball, Texas, explained that in April her husband Jason, 51, was diagnosed with grade IV glioblastoma, an incurable and aggressive form of brain cancer. 

The family learned last month that his cancer had leaked into his cerebral spinal fluid. The condition, known as leptomeningeal disease, has taken his life expectancy from a little over a year to just two or three months.  

'Your heart stops, you can’t hear, your breath becomes shallow,' Nicole recalled of the moment she was told the heartbreaking news. 'How were we supposed to tell our daughters? How were we supposed to plan our future?' 

The mom explained how Jason 'has always been the most attentive father' to their daughters Kaylee, 18, and Ashlee, 16, and 'never missed any of their events.'

'We have raised two daddy’s girls and I was about to break their hearts. Their future suddenly looked very different,' she wrote. 'The dreams they had of their daddy walking them down the aisle had come to a screeching halt. 

'The certain songs they’ve played hundreds of times while imagining themselves swirling around a dance floor, in the perfect dress, in the arms of the first man they ever loved, suddenly took on new meaning.'

When their daughters asked if they could still have 'their' dances with their father, they came up with the idea of staging the moment before it happened as something they can look back on when he is gone. 

'We create memories, we recreate them, why not PRE-create a moment?' Nicole asked. 

Dozens of friends came together to help them pull off the emotional shoot, which took place on October 14, with many even offering up wedding dresses for Kaylee and Ashlee to wear.   

Olde Dobbin Station in Montgomery, Texas, gave the family full use of its facilities while Shalonda Chaddock, a professional photographer and friend of Nicole's, immediately agreed to capture the moment.  

Pictures from the shoot show Jason embracing his daughters during their individual dances and walking them down the 'aisle' — one on each of his arms.   

Nicole noted that videographer Michael Shea was also at the shoot, explaining he 'made sure the girls would have the most special video that they can watch for years to come.'

'The day of the dance, the sun was shining through gray rain clouds, sunlight mixing with rain showers. I realized, afterwards, how appropriate the weather was for this day,' she recounted. 

'That is what we've been doing through this whole journey, trying to find the light among the darkness, the sunshine in the rain. There was laughter and tears but in the end, there was an everlasting memory.'

Though they opted to keep the video of the shoot tucked away until Kaylee and Ashlee's wedding days, Nicole said they wanted to share a few of the photos to help others who are faced with losing a parent.

'Maybe this story can strike an idea for someone else to PRE-create their moments, so feel free to share it. Please SHARE it!' she wrote. 'It was because someone shared a similar story that planted this seed, and we will forever be grateful for that, so we’d like to pay it forward.'

Most importantly, the family wanted to use the photos to raise awareness for glioblastoma multiforme and leptomeningeal disease. 

'They are both extremely rare and get very little attention,' she explained. 'Those living with this beast need more research, more funding, and we need a CURE! Having more people fighting alongside those of us in this war is what will create much needed change. 

'When our girls look back at this chapter, I want them to remember not a journey of death, but a journey of life,' she added, urging others to live their lives to the fullest. 

'Take the trip, snap the pictures, eat dessert first, go see your friends, play games with your kids, make your days matter! When you live your life surrounded by kindness and love, you have lived your life well.'

While speaking with Today, Nicole opened up about the father-daughter photo shoot, saying she was happy her girls had that moment with their dad. 

'It was heartbreaking but joyful. I hated that we had to do it, but I loved that we could do it,' she said, noting that she was proud of both her daughters and her husband.

'I was so proud of him because he fought through feeling miserable to do this for them,' she explained. 'He was not going to get to see them in a wedding gown or in that moment. So now he has kind of that image. So, it was important for him to be able to know that that's what it could be.'

Nicole and her daughters plan on getting matching sound wave tattoos of Jason saying, 'I love you girls.' He has also been making recordings for them to listen to and writing them letters to open on important days in their lives.  

A few days ago, the family revealed on the 'Pray for J' Facebook page that Jason is responding well to a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. 

The doctor said it's likely that Jason may have more time than they were told at his last prognosis. 

GoFundMe page has also been set up for the family to help with Jason's rising medical costs.

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Tradie, 22, who suffered horrific injuries in a head-on car crash that killed his father-of-two workmate slams 'drunk driver' charged with veering into the wrong lane

A young man who suffered horrific injuries in a car crash that killed his workmate has hit out at the allegedly drunk driver who slammed into them.

Aaron Shepherd, 22, was driving in North Richmond, in Sydney's northwest, about 4.30am on Saturday when the car was hit head-on.

His workmate Steve Arnold, 41, was in the passenger seat and died at the scene while Mr Shepherd was airlifted to hospital.

The 40-year-old driver of the other car is accused of drunkenly veering onto the wrong side of the road and slamming into them.

She was on Sunday arrested on five charges including dangerous and negligent driving causing death and grievous bodily harm.

Mr Shepherd suffered a broken elbow, shoulder, ribs, and eye socket and his spleen was so shredded it had to be removed.

'This has been the single most life changing event I have ever experienced,' he said.

The air conditioning technician claimed there was nothing he could do to prevent the crash as the other car was suddenly in front of him.

'The other car that hit us was over the limit drunk, speeding, and on our side of the road giving me no time to react,' he said.

Mr Arnold, who his younger colleague called his 'great mentor', leaves behind his wife Roxanne and two young children, Charlotte and Cooper.

'He was a very big part of our cohort and working lives. I will miss his jokes and atmosphere this man brought to my daily life,' Mr Shepherd said.

He said the crash should be a warning to other motorists to never drink and drive because of the damage they could do to other families.

Drive safe everyone, don't take the small things for granted and tell your parents you love them,' he said.

Mr Shepherd's sister Emily, 25, said it was a miracle her little brother was alive and hit out at the other driver's alleged reckless actions.

'Life is to precious and valuable to gamble with it so thoughtlessly,' she said.

'You're a miracle walking. We're so lucky to still have you with us and I treasure you more than words can ever express.

Beyond grateful for the memories we share and the fact that I can still hug you today my boy.  I'm so proud of how strong you've been. So brave and such a fighter.'

An off-duty firefighter who was one of the first to rush over to the wreck moments after the crash said it was the worst accident he'd seen in his 35-year career.

A GoFundMe Emily set up for Mr Arnold's family has raised more than $11,000 since it was set up on Monday morning. 

Police said both Mr Shepherd and the other driver were rushed to Westmead Hospital from the crash on Bells Line of Road with serious injuries. 

The other driver was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Monday.

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Mother 'strangled to death by huge python' in house filled with 140 snakes

A mother was allegedly strangled to death by a massive eight-foot-python in a home filled with 140 snakes, police said. Laura Hurst, 36, was found dead with the snake wrapped around her neck in the ‘reptile home’ in Battle Ground, Indiana on Wednesday night. The home is reportedly owned by Benton County Sheriff Don Munson and is set up specifically for the snake collection. According to a statement by Indiana State Police spokesman Sergeant Kim Riley, Hurst kept about 20 of her own snakes in the home and usually visited it twice a week.

Sheriff Munson lives next door the the reptile house and reportedly saw Hurst at the home on Wednesday evening. Riley said a person found Hurst later that night on the floor with a reticulated python loosely wrapped around her neck.

The person, who was not named, was able to unwrap the python, but medics were unable to revive Hurst, Riley wrote. ‘She appears to have been strangled by the snake. We do no know that for a fact until after the autopsy,’ Riley told the Journal Courier. Munson called Hurst’s death a ‘tragic accident with loss of human life,’ adding that he was ‘being fully cooperative with everybody.’

Authorities said they plan to conduct an autopsy on Friday. Hurst’s Facebook page indicates that she was a mother of two. Her family told Metro US they did not want to comment on the incident.

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Bride who uses wheelchair shocks groom by walking down aisle on wedding day

A British veteran who has been using a wheelchair for the past seven years shocked her husband-to-be on their wedding day when she arrived at the end of the aisle — by walking.

Emma Kitson, 35, of West Yorks, joined the Royal Artillery when she was 18 and was deployed to Iraq in 2003.

While in service, she claims she carried 100-pound shells for AS90 bullet tanks on her back in an attempt to “keep up with the lads,"  Kitson told SWNS, a British news agency.

But over time, the heavy weight became too much to bear because it was adversely affecting her spine. At 21, she left the army because of severe back pain.

She later underwent surgery to repair her spine. But when she came to following the procedure, she was unable to feel her left leg, she said.

“I wasn’t prepared for what would happen,” Kitson said.

Though she is not paralyzed, the pain in her leg has prevented her from being able to walk, forcing her to use a wheelchair, the bride said.

But ahead of her wedding day in August, the mom of three was determined to walk to her then-finance, Christopher Kitson, 38.

If I'm in a wheelchair for the rest of my life I do not care because I can say I've walked to Christopher and then I've walked with him out of the church,” she said of her reasoning. "I wanted to avoid being in my wheelchair for as much of the day as possible. I wanted to show my dress off as much as I could on my special day."

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Old-school methods used by nurses are revealed in a hilarious memoir

As any nurse who worked in the hospitals of yesteryear will tell you, the big event of the day was the ward round, presided over by consultants who often demanded to be treated like gods.

To speed up his round, one gynaecologist insisted that all patients on his ward had to be waiting on top of their beds with their underwear off and covered with a blanket which could be whipped off should the need to examine them arise.

On another female surgical ward, the head man required an unfortunate student nurse to dance attendance upon him, holding a hot water bottle on her outstretched hands so he could warm his own hands before examining a patient.

These days, hospitals are all about team work rather than hierarchy and ward rounds are unlikely to be treated so grandly.

But they were still very much a feature of life when my mother trained in the 1950s and I in the 1980s, both at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

I qualified in 1983 and, after two decades working as a health journalist, briefly returned to nursing, working at a district hospital in Oxfordshire, by which time there had been huge changes in the profession.

Today it is degree-based, with new recruits needing to have three A-levels, to meet the demands of what is now a complex job. I came in at the tail-end of an era in which entry requirements could be fairly bizarre.

They ranged from the quality of your needlework to references from a reverend, with St Thomas’s Hospital in London demanding at one time that the latter should be supplied by no less than three different ministers of religion.

Some nursing schools required you to send in a photo of yourself while others asked for details of your father’s occupation and there is no doubt that my family heritage helped Bart’s overlook my lack of a maths O-level.

The emphasis then was on doing rather than thinking, as reflected in my forthcoming book about the rituals which provided security and comfort for both patients and staff and were, some argue, part of the healing process.

Fortunately, some of the more bizarre rituals have been done away with and today’s nurses question any practice that is not based on scientific evidence.

My research included interviews with former nurses such as Linda who described the preparation for the ward rounds at the Manchester Royal Infirmary in the 1960s.

‘The ward must be tidy, beds made, wheels turned in, curtains back and all patients sitting up in bed, preferably at the same angle.

‘I think that it would have been acceptable to have run around with a feather duster flicking any sign of dust or imperfections from each patient prior to the Great Man’s Arrival.’

The typical ‘Nightingale’ ward contained 24 beds. Once the white-coated entourage had reached No 19, the sister nodded to a junior nurse to put the kettle on, deploying her best china to entertain the consultant to a cup of tea in her office.

Heaven knows how the conversation went following the embarrassing incident witnessed by a nurse named Anne.

‘The ward round set off and, horrors, Sister’s dress was caught in her knickers. Everyone froze.

‘Discreetly, the consultant drew her behind the curtains, advised her of the delicate matter and she emerged red-faced, smoothing her dress. Order was restored.’

By the time consultants made their rounds, patients had often been awake for many hours, with beleaguered night staff rushing to get them washed before the day shift arrived.

Often the wards were still in darkness and staff were unable to see what they were doing.

One junior nurse arrived on a day-shift one morning to find that all the patients sitting up in bed on her ward had been washed but put in shrouds instead of hospital gowns.

Giving a bed-bath was one of the first procedures learned by students. Among the first intake to be trained in the new NHS, Mary was assigned to a medical ward where most of the patients were young men.

‘They were saucy as young men are,’ she said. ‘They used to ping our suspenders!’

Fortunately, the ward sister had advice for reducing what were described to Mary as any ‘tent poles’ that might occur during bed-baths. Apparently, a dab of surgical spirit applied with some cotton wool soon dampened the ardour.

At one time a tiny tablet of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste were provided for those who didn’t own such things or came into hospital as an emergency. Some departments even had washing machines and nurses would do the laundry for patients.

‘I loved being able to wash their clothing, especially when they didn’t have relatives to help,’ remembered one nurse. ‘Once I was asked to wash a homeless man’s sleeping bag. It took five washes to get it totally clean, but he was so chuffed with it.’

Another part of the job was making snacks for patients who couldn’t face hospital food. On my first ward — male medical — I found myself being asked to cook scrambled eggs for the men in our care.

This tested my basic culinary skills to the limit, but others were better equipped for the task.

A former Bart’s nurse described how, when they decamped to a hospital in Hertfordshire during the war, a colleague skilfully prepared breakfast for a whole ward of patients on a single Bunsen burner.

She would call out, ‘boiled, fried or poached’, and we would put in the patient’s order and she would produce a perfectly cooked egg.’

Bed-making could be an equally demanding affair.

At St Thomas’s, one nursing sister carried a set square to check that the hospital corners were at precisely 45 degrees. When a student muttered that it was impossible to get them so exact, she was marched to a bed and guided through making it to show that it was perfectly possible — much to the amusement of the surrounding patients.

The job of keeping the ward clean and tidy also fell to the nurses.

One textbook, published in 1949, devoted 12 chapters to hygiene, one describing how a ward should be cleaned — ‘all the beds pulled out from the wall and the dust swept towards the door, keeping the broom low so as to prevent the dust from flying about’.

There was even advice on flowers: vases needed to be washed daily and filled with clean water and the blooms freshly arranged each morning. Nowadays, of course, flowers are generally banned from hospital wards, although it’s not quite clear what infection risk they pose.

Another daily routine saw nurses going round with the ubiquitous trolleys and a bowl of warm water to clean all the lockers, and wash the ashtrays, standard issue at one time.

This was a chance to chat with patients — something not encouraged unless you were also completing a task.

One nurse, Rosie, used to listen to one old chap’s war stories and happily took the Brazil nuts he offered her from the bag in his locker until his daughter arrived one day carrying a box of Callard & Bowser Chocolate Brazil nuts, at which point Rosie felt slightly queasy.

The daughter glanced at her: ‘You’ve not been eating those, nurse?’ Rosie said she had.

‘Oh Dad,’ said the daughter. ‘I’ve told you not to suck the chocolate off the nuts — it’s a nasty habit.’

Cleanliness was all part of the good order which made running a ward easier, as was the military-style obedience reflected in the smart uniforms we sported in those days before scrubs — the more functional clothing worn today by nurses. These can leave patients unsure who they are talking to, although confusion did sometimes occur in the old days.

It was possible at Bart’s to mistake the visiting barber for a doctor, as he, too, wore a white coat, his job to provide those shaves for the men that were too embarrassing for female nurses to perform.

Hats, for many decades emblematic of nursing, covered the hair and prevented the transmission of bacteria from patient to patient.

But they also had an illicit purpose, described by Linda from the Manchester Royal Infirmary.

‘At morning tea, we had 15 minutes to walk to the dining room — no running allowed — down tea/coffee and biscuits and most importantly have at least three puffs of a cigarette. There was no time to finish it so we cut off the end neatly with scissors and placed it in the front fold of our cap for safe keeping.’

By the end of the 20th century, hats were no longer part of the uniform. Discarded with great reluctance by many, they went the same way as the removable white cuffs which had to be worn when addressing doctors, or officially speaking to Sister (I’m not sure there was any unofficial speaking to Sister).

Ruby, who nursed children with infectious diseases, explained how Matron’s ward round halted the rinsing out of nappies in the cleaning room known as ‘the sluice’.

‘You had to remove your rubber gloves, roll down your sleeves, pull the cuff frills on and stand by the sluice door until Matron had gone past. Then off with the cuffs, up with the sleeves and back on with the rubber gloves.’

Alongside Matron, one of the scariest characters in the hospital hierarchy was the night sister. She had a habit of appearing in the early hours, silent as a cat, and catching you out in a range of misdemeanours, including the wearing of cardigans and the sipping of hot drinks, both deemed ‘unprofessional’ even during long nights spent on often cold wards.

Those wilier than me scattered a little sugar or cereal near the ward doors so that the crunching underfoot would warn of her approach. This gave them time to hide their cups within the top drawer of the desk at the nurse’s station.

But one sister I worked with was familiar with this routine and purposefully slammed the drawer shut. Not easy explaining the spilt contents and ruined paperwork to the ward sister in the morning.

Nights were often an opportunity to chat with a patient over a cup of tea and hear their worries. Such conversations often straddled the bewitching hour of 3am which, science has shown, is when humans are at their lowest ebb.

It’s certainly one of the commonest times for deaths on a ward. While many people fear the embarrassment of having a heart attack during sex, it’s far more usual to succumb on the toilet.

As an 18-year-old, I was horrified to learn that this had been the undignified fate of a man I had been looking after, but my friend Liz had a worse experience.

Three weeks into her first ward, she realised that a patient had died on the loo and fallen forward with his head pressed against the door so she couldn’t open it.

A house officer had to climb over the top of the cubicle and move the patient. ‘We then had to put him in a wheelchair and wheel him through the ward, talking to him as if he were still alive,’ Liz told me.

It fell to Liz and another student to lay out the body, after following the then customary practice of leaving it for an hour, with a window in the room opened, to allow the spirit or soul to leave.

Of course, such traditions might be seen as anachronistic, just like the wearing of hats, cuffs and other adornments, including the blue-bordered badges that signified that you were a State Registered Nurse. Those badges were done away with the year that I qualified.

We became, simply, Registered Nurses and nursing started to move away from the sentimentality of the past. I welcome the modernisation of a complex profession, but I still would have quite liked one of those badges!

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Father, 38, drowns while trying to save three of his sons from drowning in a rip tide while on vacation in Florida

A Kentucky father described as a 'hero' died as he tried to save his three children from a rip tide on a Florida beach. 

Stephone Ritchie Sr., 38, was on vacation in Davenport, Florida, before deciding to drive roughly two hours to Cocoa Beach on October 27. 

Over 20 of his family members traveled to the beach from their rental home, including five of Ritchie's  six children - four boys, and one girl.

Ritchie's cousin Elishia Durrett-Johnson said that three of his sons immediately went into the water. 

She told Fox News the family liked having the beach to the themselves. But she said  there were no signs posted of a dangerous rip current in the area.

Ritchie's sister Amber claimed she was worried the kids were too far out but Ritchie responded by saying they would be okay.

'Hey Sis, we got this, they know what they're doing, they can swim,' he originally told her, Durrett-Johnson explained.

He then reportedly went to save his sons before the waves overpowered him as they had been 'relentless,' Durrett-Johnson said. 

'A wave caught him, there was no breaks in the wave. He couldn't get to swim parallel to the current like you're supposed to. The water kept coming and coming.'

Ritchie's son Kaylib, 19, had seen his father in trouble in the water and Ritchie had replied yes when he asked if he needed his help.  

Kaylib brought the three boys out of the water but his father struggled to overcome the large waves and they eventually pulled him to shore.  

They tried to perform CPR on him but he died a short time later. 

'Not again, just not again, just please just not again. I was relentless....No, we are not letting go.' 

Durrett-Johnson called Ritchie died a hero and said he died trying to save his children who he loved. 

'[He] did everything for his kids, could turn any sad situation into a comedic one,' she said.

Now the family is attempting to stick together in the wake of this terrible tragedy.

'We just came together trying to honor his legacy and do exactly what he would want us to do and that’s just being a family. Our family has suffered so much tragedy already.' 

Durrett-Johnson's husband died last June in a car accident and the trip was supposed to have given he much-needed time with her family.

Ritchie did not have life insurance so paying for his funeral and burial costs has been a challenge for his family, USA Today reports.  

The family set up a GoFundMe account for Ritchie, which has has raised almost $12,000. It reads: 'Stephone loved, sacrificed, and did everything for his children. He was their best friend, protector, and always led by example.  

'Stephone was a comedian at heart and could turn any frown into a smile.   

'His life was cut short while on a family vacation as he tragically drowned saving his children in Cocoa Beach, FL. Stephone died as a hero. Stephone was a loving father, son, cousin, best friend, co-worker, gamer, awesome cook, and a great teacher.'

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Oh ,Vinnie Jones shares last love letter his wife left to comfort him after she died

Everywhere Vinnie Jones goes, he takes with him a white card emblazoned with the words “Always Believe Something Wonderful is Going to Happen”.

Inside is the final heartbeaking love letter from wife Tanya, written before she lost her cancer battle.

The former footballer admits he was left in pieces after reading it.

He said: “I broke down. Now, I take it everywhere I go so Tanya is always with me.”

Tanya, 53, wrote the card in July, as her life slipped away, to give Vinnie strength in the days after her death from cancer.

The actor said: “She left it with her precious diaries.

“Inside she had written: ‘To my love Vin, something wonderful happens to me every day. It’s being with you. You are my morning sunshine the moment I wake. All my love, Tanya.’

"I broke down when I read it because I loved her like that too.”

Sobbing, Vinnie said he is counting the days until he is reunited with the love of his life.

And he has bought an adjacent cemetery plot so his ashes can be buried alongside Tanya’s.

Tanya endured a six-year battle after being diagnosed with melanoma in 2013 but last year it spread to her brain.

In today’s Sunday Mirror, 54-year-old Vinnie revealed he believes he was visited by her spirit in the hours after her death in July.

He now believes she is waiting for him in the afterlife.

Vinnie said: “I’m content to crash through the rest of my life in Heaven’s waiting room until Tanya calls me.

"The rest of my life is not a long time if we are going to be together for eternity.

“But I want to live to do the right thing by our daughter, Kaley, and Tanya’s family.

“But she’ll call me when the time is right.”

Vinnie and Tanya met when they were children in their hometown of Watford.

He said: “I can’t remember if I fancied her straight away but she was always very striking.”

But the pair never got together until after Tanya’s first marriage to footballer Steve Terry broke down.

By then, issues with her health were already beginning to loom.

She almost died in childbirth with Kaley, who Vinnie later adopted, and had to have an emergency heart transplant.

When he asked Tanya’s dad Lou, now 82, if he could marry her, he warned him life would be difficult because of her health. But he was unperturbed.

Vinnie recalled: “Lou asked me if I knew what I was taking on because Tanya was not a well lady. But I promised him I loved her and that never changed and never will.”

Tanya never spoke about dying or her wishes for her funeral throughout her fight.

Vinnie added: “I begged doctors not to tell her she was nearing the end when things got really bad.

“We just couldn’t talk about her dying because I just couldn’t accept it.”

But that tragic moment did arrive.

Speaking of Tanya’s funeral, Vinnie said: “Hundreds packed into our local church in LA, where we had built our life, to say goodbye. Another memorial was held in the UK, she was so loved.”

Tanya was cremated and her ashes buried in LA’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Vinnie said. “There’s a tree next to her plot for Kaley to sit under. I’ve already bought the plot next to her so my ashes can be buried there too, and we can be together forever.”

Tanya died weeks after the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary in June, which she spent in intensive care.

They had planned to mark the occasion by flying family and friends from the UK for a New Year’s Eve party in LA but Tanya didn’t make it.

Vinnie said: “While Tanya was going through chemo, she’d stop treatment for a month so she could enjoy Christmas.

"But she always had to have something to look forward to and she wanted to celebrate our anniversary on New Year’s Eve. She booked all the flights.

“We’re going ahead with the plans. It will be tough but it’s what she would have wanted.”

The festive period for Vinnie will also be tainted with sad memories.

It was last Christmas Eve, the couple received a call from Tanya’s doctor, who broke the dreadful news the cancer had spread to her brain.

Vinnie said: “We broke down in each other’s arms. It was the first time we really both broke down. That was when Tanya knew it could be her last Christmas.

"She said, ‘I want to have a fantastic Christmas, what can they do?’ The doctors gave her steroids. She was hugging friends and family and saying, ‘Every moment is precious.’ I think they maybe knew.”

Former Wimbledon star Vinnie quit booze nearly seven years ago, when Tanya was diagnosed, but he insisted he hasn’t been tempted to go back, even in his darkest days.

He said: “I was a binge drinker, not an alcoholic. But Tanya stood by me.

“It hurt me so much when I let her down. Friends might have been scared I would go off at the deep end with drink but I don’t even think about it.”

Whenever he misses his true love the most, Vinnie knows he only has to reach for the card to feel her by his side once more.

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Mum thought son, 7, was being silly at his party - but he was having a stroke

As Max Davenport crouched down on the floor in the middle of his seventh birthday party, his mum thought he was just playing and 'being silly'.

But the youngster began 'twitching,' suddenly lost the ability to move, his left arm was 'like a rag doll,' he had 'glazed eyes' and couldn't speak.

Terrifyingly, as Max's mouth drooped 'like in the adverts,' mum Michelle Davenport knew her little boy was having a stroke.

Just minutes before, Max had been running around with his friends.

But out of nowhere, he was quietly staring at his parents who had no idea why he'd had a stroke or that he'd have to embark on a six month recovery journey and learn to walk again.

Max's stroke has also left him unable to use his left hand or foot.

Michelle, 37, has shared her brave son's story in order to raise awareness of the fact that strokes can happen to young people.

The pharmaceutical technician from Blackwater, Hampshire, told "I was completely gobsmacked, there was nothing wrong with him before.

"All of a sudden my husband said to me 'what's he doing?'

"He was sitting on the floor and looked like he was twitching.

"I thought he was being silly.

"My husband went over to him to pick him up.

"I looked at Max and he was completely blank, staring through me.

"He was wide eyed but there was nothing there - he was completely lifeless but staring at me. "

She added: "I thought he was having a fit, I knew something wasn't right.

"I said 'something is happening, I can't get him to answer me.' We were all trying to talk to him. 

"He was making a funny noise from his throat, whimpering like he was trying to talk. 

"I couldn't get his left arm to move. 

"It was like you see in an advert - his mouth drooped.

"I was petrified, it was the most frightening thing ever."

Max, whose birthday is on September 5, was having a joint party with a couple of friends when he had a stroke on 25 September, 2016.

Michelle, who along with Gary works at the Frimley Park Hospital, says Max was very healthy and they had never had any health worries with him in the past.

In the car on the way to the party, "he was fine and full of beans".

The kids were taking part in a game called The Raid in the woods, dressed in camouflage outfits and shooting each other with toy guns which had foam bullets.

Max completed the first round, running around with the other children, and his mum says "he was absolutely fine".

But when they stopped for lunch he told his mum he had a headache.

"He was really quiet," Michelle remembers.

"Max has ADHD and is normally hyperactive.

"I gave him a cup of water and thought he was hot from running around."

But Max took a sudden decline and that's when she and her material management assistant husband Gary, 48, noticed him on the floor 'twitching'.

Staff at the activity centre lay him down and phoned an ambulance.

When paramedics arrived, Michelle says they got him to open his mouth but "his tongue was to one side."

"They lifted his left arm and dropped it and it was like a rag doll," she said.

"I said to them 'he has had a stroke hasn't he'.

"They scooped him up and took him to hospital.

"We had no idea that could happen, it was the most surreal experience ever."

Michelle continued: "When it happened it was in the middle of everyone.

"The other parents present whisked the rest of the children to the other side of the camp to have lunch so they couldn't see.

"The symptoms were so stereotypical of a stroke, after I'd initially thought he was having a seizure.

"His eyes were funny, they were glazed, like it was not Max at all."

But Max took a sudden decline and that's when she and her material management assistant husband Gary, 48, noticed him on the floor 'twitching'.

Staff at the activity centre lay him down and phoned an ambulance.

When paramedics arrived, Michelle says they got him to open his mouth but "his tongue was to one side."

"They lifted his left arm and dropped it and it was like a rag doll," she said.

"I said to them 'he has had a stroke hasn't he'.

"They scooped him up and took him to hospital.

"We had no idea that could happen, it was the most surreal experience ever."

Michelle continued: "When it happened it was in the middle of everyone.

"The other parents present whisked the rest of the children to the other side of the camp to have lunch so they couldn't see.

"The symptoms were so stereotypical of a stroke, after I'd initially thought he was having a seizure.

"His eyes were funny, they were glazed, like it was not Max at all."

His mum stayed with him at a Ronald McDonald House - free accommodation offered by the charity for parents with children in hospital.

Michelle's best friend and sisters had to help with school drop offs and pick ups for her daughter Sophie, now seven, who was four at the time.

Speaking about Max's recovery, Michelle, who also has stepchildren Rhianna, 19, and Harry, 18, told: "The drooping and dribbling lasted a couple of weeks and then slowly started to improve.

"He started to get his speech back quite quickly. It was slurry but he was able to talk to us. 

"We thought we’d just stay there [in hospital] for a week, a couple of weeks, but we stayed there at Southampton for six months in total.

"Physio started with getting him to sit upright with support to start with, then very slowly built on that to standing and then on to walking with support until eventually he could walk independently with a splint and just a wheelchair for long distances due to fatigue.

"Occupational therapists worked on teaching him ways to dress, clean, use his arm as much as possible in everyday tasks to try and grow new pathways in his brain to remember that side again.

"It took him about eight weeks to be able to be up and walking with help, with support.

"He just gradually got stronger each day, and he’s very able now with walking."

Now 10, Max walks "really well" but he can't move his left foot, has no movement in his left hand and wrist and limited movement in his left elbow and shoulder.

Max has a splint on his arm and leg, a piece of medical equipment used to keep an injured body part from moving and to protect it from any further damage.

His mum says he never moans and can't remember exactly how he was before "which in a way is a blessing".

But for her and Gary "it's very heartbreaking".

Telling a story that touched her, Michelle said: "Max said to me the other day 'if you had scrap metal what would you do with it? If I did, I would make a time machine and go back seven years and enjoy moving my hands as much as I could'.

"Hearing that and seeing him not able to do certain things is really upsetting.

"But I think of how lucky he is and how he has recovered - it's a miracle how you see him now compared to before.

"He is a very resilient and amazing little boy."

Since the stroke, Max has to take more care while playing.

He loves football but his mum says he can't tackle anyone.

The youngster also used to go on skateboard ramps on his scooter but he doesn't have the balance to be able to do so now.

Michelle says Max can't ride a bike anymore and has struggled with friendships since the stroke.

"His emotions are quite up and down - if he's sad, he's very sad, or he's really really happy. Everything is in extremes," Michelle said.

The mother said her own emotions have also been up and down.

She said she's felt confused, sad, angry, questioning why this happened to their family.

"We were all over the place but it was also heartwarming because we had so many people looking after us - family, friends.

"Max became a celebrity in hospital and we became so close to people."

Michelle said her message would be not to ignore any symptoms.

She added: "People tend to think that strokes affect old people and I'd like them to know that it can happen to anyone, even children.

"It can happen without any prior warning and it is so important that people recognise the signs to be able to seek help as soon as possible,” said Michelle.

"I feel grateful Max is still here and is doing well."

The Stroke Association and Yateley and District Lions Club gave the family a grant towards a specially-adapted trike for Max.

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Mother who was mistaken for being PREGNANT on her wedding day reveals how she shed 16kg in just five months by ditching soft drinks and giant meal portions

A mother whose weight spiralled after she was mistaken for being pregnant on her wedding day has dropped 16 kilos within five months just by tweaking her lifestyle.

Nandi Vitagliano, from Melbourne, lived off an unhealthy diet where she would eat five full meals and drink up to two litres of soft drinks per day.

Standing just 160 centimetres tall, the 32-year-old, who works in sales, tipped the scales at 78 kilos at her heaviest.

Her heavier weight made her feel so 'horridly ashamed' that she would avoid all mirrors, pictures and she struggled with trying on 'bigger' clothes in dressing rooms.

Determined to get on top of her weight once and for all, Nandi - who now looks unrecognisable - slimmed down to a size eight by simply ditching soft drinks and giant meal portions.

Before her weight loss, Nandi said she hadn't realise how much she'd gained until her wedding guests mistakenly assumed she was expecting another baby in early 2018.

'At my wedding, I was so embarrassed when the guests started asking me if I was pregnant. My downhill spiral came from there. I ate myself into a frenzy,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

As her weight continued to pile on, Nandi - who documents her journey on Instagram - said she found herself overeating to cope with her emotions. 

'I was an emotional eater so if anything got hard for me in any way I would just eat my heart out,' she said.

'I was also working so much, I found myself eating a lot of takeaway as the easy way out. So getting meals at drive-thru or pickups were easy and accessible - and at times, the cheapest option to feed a family of five.

'I ate five full meals a day and every time my body craved something I had to have it. My lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits made me gain so much weight.

Every day, she would look in the mirror and be unhappy with what she saw.

'For months I was hurting from even looking at myself in the mirror. I was horridly ashamed of how big,' she said. 

'It lowered my self-esteem even more when I had to go shopping to get bigger size clothing. Going from a size eight to a 12 was a big adjustment for me.

'On days I couldn't cope, I would pop out for a drive and find myself grabbing that large cheeseburger meal with a chocolate sundae from McDonald's.'

As her weight fluctuated, she tried going on diets - but nothing seemed to work. 

'I have tried crash diets and starving myself but it never worked because I loved food too much,' Nandi said.

Her turning point came after she was left in tears when she saw a picture of herself taken unexpectedly on Christmas Day in 2018.

'My turning point was mainly my health and an innocent photo my sister took of me at Christmas because of my reaction at something my brother did,' she said.

'I cried for hours after I saw that photo. That photo along with my children and my need to give them a better life and a better example of what goes into our bodies. 

'I never really set myself an unrealistic goal. My goal was to just lose some weight and wow did it change my life.'

And so in January this year, she dropped eight kilos within three months just by walking and eating smaller portions.

She lost a further seven kilos in two months after she signed up to Sweat with Kayla Itsines - a health and fitness workout app.

'I fluctuate now between the extra kilo or two which is fine by me because I'm happier and healthier than ever,' she said.

'I stopped drinking soft drinks and don't have them in my house anymore. I started cooking at home more often. Naturally we have days where I can't be bothered cooking but I always take the time to give my family a healthy balanced diet now.

'I still have my weaknesses which include anything with caramel in it like doughnuts especially - but instead of having half a dozen, I will enjoy just one on a weekly basis.

'I couldn't love myself when I looked in the mirror but now I love who I have become and the life and example I have chosen to live for my children. 

'I'm not embarrassed to leave the house and stay at my sons cricket match because I'm not worried about me not being able to catch my breath just talking to people.

'I'm now a healthier version of myself.'

As she maintains a healthy diet, Nandi said she exercises up to seven days a week.

'I will take the odd day off but I have made it a part of my life and my routine that I feel guilty if I don't,' she said.

'I appreciate the hour in the morning while my husband is home with the kids and they're sleeping or when they are in bed late at night because I value it as mum time.

'I love my kids but let's face it, all mums need mummy time. I have also learnt to be in tune with my body so when it's too much and my body says enough, I will rest rather than give up. 

'I'm a very lucky woman who has such an amazing and supportive husband who has helped me and held my hand throughout this journey and my children for cheering me on when times got a bit tough.

'There's nothing more important than a family who supports you because if they don't, it makes your journey a hell of a lot harder.'

For anyone who's keen to lose weight, Nandi - who now weighs a healthy 62 kilos - said: 'My advice to anyone wanting to make the change - it starts with you. 

'Only you can set yourself the task of making that change. No one else can.

'You make time for the things that are important to you. I don't have the time unless I make it. That includes cooking and doing my exercise. I have made the decision for the change in my life.

'No one can force you to change your life or make that decision for you. When it gets tough and you feel like you can't anymore, it's ok to rest.

'Consistency is key. We all have bad days but don't let that deter you from your goal. Be who you are happy with, not what people expect from you. 

'Set yourself a realistic goal and aim towards it but please don't give up.'

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Family left 'humiliated' after flight captain mistook them for a rowdy drunk couple and threatened to deport them

A family-of-six claim a 'bully' TUI flight captain threatened to deport them after mistaking them for a rowdy drunk duo on their flight.

The family from Wigan, Manchester say they were left humiliated after they were hauled in for a scolding on the flight to their two-week holiday in Cancún, Mexico

The Adshead family claim the captain was so irate he failed to realise he had "mistaken" them for a rowdy drunk duo who had already disembarked.

Paul and Shirley Adshead's two-week holiday got off to a rocky start when a drunk couple in their row on the August 23 flight became disruptive and violent to one another.

The rowing couple reportedly got so disruptive that multiple families including Paul and Shirley had to move their children away and the TUI crew were forced to announce they would close the bar.

But the flight took an even darker turn when a stewardess told the family to stay on the plane after landing because the captain wanted to speak to them.

'Humiliated' Paul, 44, says he and his family were then forced to wait while all passengers disembarked, before the captain emerged and berated them over their 'unacceptable' behaviour.

With Shirley, 45, in tears, Paul tried to explain that they had the wrong people but claims the captain kept 'shutting them down' and refused to listen to their pleas of innocence.

The captain reportedly threatened to send them back to the UK immediately and said they would not be allowed on a TUI return flight if they continued to contest.

Paul is adamant that the confusion arose because many customers were no longer sat in their 'allocated' seats after moving due to the drunk couple's behaviour.

Paul's seven-year-old daughter had actually met the captain and was allowed in the cockpit for photos prior to take-off - but this appeared to be long-forgotten when the family were 'berated'.

The experience has left the family no longer wanting to go on any more long haul flights as company director Paul claims they have been "scarred for life" by the incident.

TUI have confirmed they are investigating the incident but refused to comment on the specifics of what happened.

Paul, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, said: "We were terrified and just wanted to get off so this is how it ended.

"The captain basically told us off stating [our behaviour] was not acceptable.

"I tried to explain to him while my wife was still in tears 'hang on a minute it was the couple sat adjacent to us who were blind drunk and disruptive and they're the ones other passengers complained about to the crew and some people had to move for'.

"He's very, very brash and bullying at this point - bearing in mind we're in a foreign country and not being let off the plane.

"But he just kept shutting us down and telling us not to speak. We had no opportunity to engage and have a reasonable conversation.

"It was very, very like whatever he had in his head we had done. He wouldn't listen to any of it.

"It's bizarre because before the flight took off we got pictures of our little one in the cockpit [with the captain] so it started off really well and ended in a bizarre way.

"But ten or 11 hours later he incorrectly detained us on the flight, intimidated us, threatened to return us to the UK and / or prevent us returning home on a TUI airline, bullied us, and would not let us speak to contest our case as discussed.

"You cannot speak to people the way that he spoke to us in that level of authority. He was very, very stern.

"We paid for TUI Premium Club for our family of six due to this being our first ever family long haul flight and had our flight and the first week of our holiday destroyed [due] to this 'error'.

"It does scar you for life and I look very differently at any other flight and holiday that I go on."

Paul said when they got to the hotel he left it for a day and then spoke to the TUI rep on site to express his concern about what had happened.

On August 27 TUI informed Paul through the rep that the whole family needed to sign an 'additional conditions of carriage' form to get on their scheduled TUI flight home, which Paul claimed was 'like a restraining order'.

Paul then asked TUI in writing why they had to sign the form - and that same day TUI retracted their request.

Paul said: "We'd been there a week constantly trying to find out what was going on. Our whole first week was tarred by this and even after that because we don't have an explanation.

"All my wife did the second week was worry that when we got to the airport to come home she wasn't going to be allowed on the flight.

"[She worried] our names would be behind the counter for something we'd not done and we would have been treated very differently on the fight home.

"It was actually her birthday on the flight home so we were supposed to have a bit of a celebration and champagne.

"She didn't want any of that because she just wanted to get on that plane and get off and be home.

"I can't get my wife back on a plane at the minute. She just doesn't want to fly again and doesn't want that experience.

"She's a very sensitive person and does worry about things like that and still can't believe the way we've been treated.

"She's getting over it a bit now but in her head she's saying I need my name cleared because I haven't done anything and next time we book it'll be on record."

Paul said his family doesn't want to go on any more long haul flights and have remained in the UK during the October half term instead of going away like usual.

After making a complaint on his return to the UK, Paul said he still has not had an explanation as to why they were detained.

He said TUI 'fobbed off' his complaint stating it will not issue compensation for spoiling the family's holiday and that he has escalated the matter to the CEO.

Paul said: "Everybody was asking why we weren't getting off. We had the humiliation factor of [saying] we have to stay on board and nobody could really understand why.

"My wife was in tears. She's not a great flyer to start with. This was her first long haul flight ever and same for the family. That's why we paid for the premium upgrade which cost us an extra £1,500.

"No one was telling us what was going on. My kids were worried and upset and some were in tears.

"We went to try and speak to someone and we were told by the same stewardess to sit down and not move from our seats and when the captain has finished what he's doing he'll come out and speak to us.

"I've never been treated like that in my whole life. We're a normal hard-working family who had saved up for a nice trip. It's just the humiliation. It's embarrassing. This isn't a vendetta against anyone.

"The response has been 'sorry' along with the crew are permitted to act however they see fit."

A TUI spokesperson said: "We have a zero tolerance approach to disruptive behaviour onboard our flights, and the safety and well-being of customers and crew is our highest priority.

"We are currently reviewing the crew reports from the Adshead party’s flight and investigating this incident, and we will be in touch with the customer directly."

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Pit bull can't stop smiling after he gets adopted from the shelter

Unfortunately for many dogs like Battersea's Theo, their lives are spent in an animal shelter.

And it was the same fate for Meatball until Lisa Reilly spotted a picture of him online, two years ago.

Determined to give him a good home, she adopted the cheeky chap from Fresno Bully Rescue shelter in California.

But the adorable dog has clearly never forgotten his owner’s kindness if these cute pictures on Instagram are anything to go by.

The pit bull mix pooch has settled in well to his home, and two years on, he still can’t stop smiling.

Unfortunately for many dogs like Battersea's Theo, their lives are spent in an animal shelter.

And it was the same fate for Meatball until Lisa Reilly spotted a picture of him online, two years ago.

Determined to give him a good home, she adopted the cheeky chap from Fresno Bully Rescue shelter in California.

But the adorable dog has clearly never forgotten his owner’s kindness if these cute pictures on Instagram are anything to go by.

The pit bull mix pooch has settled in well to his home, and two years on, he still can’t stop smiling.

Lisa, who admits she gets him tho flash his trademark grin with treats, told how his name was inspired by his 70 Ibs bulk.

She added: "He literally just looks like meatball," Reilly said. "He has no neck and he has no waist." 

And it seems web users, from as far as Finland, can’t get enough of his daily snaps.

mayor_of_irvine wrote: “What a handsome dude”.

While alicallie said: “What a total doll! I would hug and kiss that cutie non stop.”

But Lisa is shocked by the success, admitting on Instagram: “He’s just a fat, farty dog”.

Meaty even took pride of place at his owner’s wedding, even donning a smart suit for the occasion.

Meaty also shares his home with newly adopted pitbull Ricardo Tubbs and three other pups that they rescued.

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'China doll' baby born with bones so brittle a sneeze could cause fracture

The parents of a baby born with severely brittle bones say even the slightest sneeze or cough could cause her a fracture. Emma Tomlinson, 37, and Louis Honca, 32, welcomed daughter Mya in May this year, and she was then diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also known as brittle bone disease. They say their five-month-old is so fragile they have to handle her like a ‘china doll’ and have even made a warning sign for her baby carrier. Mum-of-three Emma, a psychiatric nurse, said: ‘We have to be extra careful picking her up, changing her nappy or giving her a bath. ‘She’s so delicate even the slightest knock could result in a broken bone.

‘Her dad made a sticker for her baby carrier which reads,”Please be careful removing me, I have brittle bones” to warn people to handle with care.’ Emma and Louis were first told Mya was showing ‘abnormalities’ at a routine 20-week scan in January 2019. Doctors spotted that she had bowed legs and a fractured femur in the womb and predicted it could be a number of conditions that might affect her growth.

Emma, who is also mum to Joshua, 11, and Marcus, three, said: ‘I went into the room expecting it to be straight-forward as it had been with my boys before, but it soon felt like we were in a TV soap. ‘All of a sudden the sonographer went quiet and told us: “I’ve got some concerns, I need to get a second opinion” before leaving the room. ‘It was so quiet, we were very tense and hugely anxious. My husband was there with me and we both just looked at each other and thought: “What is going on?”‘ The couple, from Hull, East Yorkshire, then met with a specialist, but turned down an amniocentesis, which allows parents to check if their unborn baby has a genetic of chromosomal condition.

The test can increase the risk of miscarriage and Emma didn’t want to create a higher chance of losing their baby. She continued: ‘It didn’t matter. I knew my baby would be loved whatever the circumstances. ‘But I was unsure whether she would survive or if the condition might kill her. It was a worrying time.’

Mya was born during a planned cesarean at 37 weeks on May 13, as doctors thought a natural birth might be traumatic for a baby with brittle bones. She was then whisked off for full body scans and x-rays, and three days later Emma and Louis were told she had OI. The condition is caused by a defect where collagen, responsible for supporting bone structure, is missing, reduced or of low quality in the body. Since then, the family have been learning how to handle their newborn with the utmost of care, with Emma describing it as ‘frightening’ how easy Mya can break a bone.

Mya has since undergone bone infusion treatment, which she will need to have every six weeks for the first year of her life. This will change to every three months until she is a teenager, where it will then become every six months to a year. Emma said: ‘[Mya] is beautiful – she’s perfect to me. I don’t want people to look at her and feel sorry for her. I want to raise awareness. ‘There are so many people out there with OI leading amazing lives. ‘Mya probably would not be advised to jump on trampoline, be on bouncy castle or do certain sports – but we’re determined the condition won’t hold her back.’ She added: ‘When starts to walk she will need her legs rodded with metal to prevent fractures and able her to be more mobile. ‘Whatever life throws at Mya we’ll be there for her and we’ll get through it. We’re determined to give her an incredible life.’

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An aviation love story': How 'soul-mates' helicopter couple killed in Leicester City crash

The pilot killed alongside his long-term girlfriend as he guided a helicopter away from a packed football stadium had been 'living the dream' working for dignitaries and travelling the world with his soulmate.    

Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz died in the crash outside Leicester City's stadium which also claimed the lives of club owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and staff members, Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare.

Mr Swaffer and Ms Lechowicz were both professional pilots who had been in a relationship for some ten years during which time they travelled far-flung destinations together. 

The 'soulmates' came together in what friends described as an 'aviation love story' and had recently bought their first home, a £1.2million property in Surrey.

Buddhist Mr Swaffer studied at Brighton College and worked for Easyjet early in his career before going on to work as a private pilot for dignitaries around the world.  

In a career spanning more than two decades he flew helicopters for live media broadcasting including 'The Big Breakfast' and the Virgin Radio traffic helicopter, and had flown the Dalai Lama and members of the royal family.  

Mr Swaffer, who has been hailed a hero for guiding the helicopter away from crowds, once said in an interview: 'safety and reliability is everything to me.'

In an interview with Private Fly, Mr Swaffer said he 'developed an interest in aviation as a child following a flight deck visit' and he started out as a sponsored Bristow Helicopters cadet. 

He told the interviewer he drove as Audi A4 because 'in driving, as in flying, safety and reliability is everything to me.' 

He also worked also a JAA (Joint Aviation Authority) Instructor and Examiner for several aircraft and helicopter types. 

Mr Swaffer was at the controls of the aircraft when it crashed in a car park just metres from the King Power Stadium on Saturday evening.

Witnesses said he was a hero for guiding the spinning helicopter away from crowds on the ground.

Lucie Morris-Marr, who was friends with Mr Swaffer for 18 years, said he would have done all he could to prevent lives being lost in the incident. 

Describing him as 'extremely funny, charming and cheeky with a wicked sense of humour', she said: 'Everyone loved him. I'm not surprised the chairman hired him. He was always great company.

'I would always ask him about his famous clients but he was so discreet which is why they hired him, of course.

'He was so generous and kind to his friends - when I lived in London he once flew us in a helicopter to a country hotel for afternoon tea.

'He loved his life. And he seemed to be living the dream flying with his girlfriend. Which is why their sudden passing in this tragedy is so terribly, terribly sad. 

'In recent years they have been in high demand from private clients in particular and have been flying private jets and helicopters as a duo enabling them to travel to some amazing locations such as Greece, Thailand and Vienna.

'Recently, I was pleased to see from his Facebook posts that he had put down roots and bought a beautiful home with Izabela in Camberley. They were often having dinner parties with their many friends.'

Speaking to Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5 Live, Ms Morris-Marr described their romance as an 'aviation love story', adding: 'Not many people get to work and travel with their soulmate, travelling the world going to glamorous places.'

Ms Morris-Marr added: 'Having been lucky to have known him as a friend and flown with him a few times as a passenger, it doesn't surprise me that he would have done all he could to save lives and do everything in his power to avoid a worse outcome in those final moments. He was an incredible person and very focused when flying.'

The 43-year-old said Mr Swaffer was experienced at flying several types of aircraft, but had a 'passion' for helicopters.

Uri Geller, 71, paid tribute to the pilot who he counted among his best friends, as well as Izabela who Mr Swaffer had dated since 1997.

The pair had spent time together just weeks ago in Israel.

Mr Geller told MailOnline: 'He was an amazing person, as well as being a great pilot.  

'He flew me many times in many different helicopters.

'As soon as I saw the news I sent him a message and I wanted to see the ticks to say he had read it and that did not happen. I called him immediately after I heard and there was no answer.

'The last time he checked his phone was a few moments before the crash. That led me to believe he had died.

'I was so, so shocked. He was one of the most brilliant pilots I have ever seen. I have flown for fifty years and he was one of the best.' 

According to friends, Mr Swaffer had a great relationship with the Leicester chairman. 

Mr Geller said: 'He looked at Izabela as his wife they had a beautiful home, which he loved.

'And he loved his boss. He was definitely his personal pilot, for about the last two years I think. But he also flew other dignitaries around the world.

'They had a beautiful relationship – he didn't distance himself from his pilot as other people do. He was warm and friendly. He was so nice to Eric.' 

Mr Geller believes a mechanical fault must have brought down the flight because Mr Swaffer was extremely skilled. 

He said: 'He flew me into my home in England where I had a helipad – and all over the world

'He flew me into confined areas, in places I would never believe you could land. But he didn't take chances, he was very serious.

'He was so careful. Maybe in his last moments of frantically trying to live he pushed the stick to make sure he didn't land on houses

'It is strange I was telling him he should give up helicopters and stick to jets, I don't know why I just had a felling – call it intuition.'  

Ms Lechowicz, who moved to the UK from Poland in 1997, was selected by her country's London embassy as one of 18 exceptional Polish women who inspired the community in the UK for being a pilot.

Writing earlier this year about becoming a pilot as part of the project to celebrate women getting the vote in Poland in 1918, she said she was inspired by her partner.

She added: 'Shortly after (coming to the UK) I also met my partner, who back then worked as an airline and helicopter pilot.

'He took me out for a few flights, and that is how it all started. I knew this is something I want to do from the moment I touched the controls for the first time.'

The Polish embassy described Ms Lechowicz as 'a wonderful pilot' who 'created a positive image of Poland in the UK'. 

Ms Lechowicz’s former boss also paid tribute, calling her ‘so talented that exceptional became the norm with her.’

David Simons, principal of the renowned Golders Green College English language school in London, said: ‘Izabela came to study here from Poland in the late ‘90s or early 2000s. 

‘The amazing thing about her is that after only two years, she got an A in her Cambridge Proficiency exam, meaning she was almost fluent.

‘It takes most people at least five or 10 years to get a result like that, but she achieved it in just two years. She’s the only person I can think of who managed it.

‘It just shows what a disciplined mind she had. But at the same time she was very modest. She didn’t flaunt what a talent she had at all. 

‘She was always one of those people who did the job without any fuss and did it very well. She was very reliable. The exception became the norm with her. She will be remembered.’ 

‘In 2002 she left us,’ Mr Simons added. ‘She had developed a relationship with Eric, her pilot boyfriend, and gradually over the months she got interested in what he was doing.

‘She was drawn to flying herself. When he went into flying executive jets and helicopters, she decided to train herself.

‘I was amazed and surprised at the time. I wasn’t amazed that she made such a success of it, because she could achieve anything she set her mind to.' 

Golders Green College plans to put up a permanent memorial to Ms Lechowicz, he added. ‘She was a truly exceptional person and it’s a tragedy she was taken so soon,’ he said. 

Mr Swaffer told Private Fly his favourite airport approach and helicopter landing sites included Male in the Maldives and Samedan near St Moritz because it 'has wonderful views of the Alps.'

He said his most memorable flight was 'winching an injured person on board a helicopter from a ship 100 miles north of the Shetland Islands, in 70 mph winds and deep swell.'

When asked what he loved about his job, he said: 'The travel is incredible, as well as the fantastic people you meet along the way.' 

Brighton College described former pupil Mr Swaffer as a 'kind and popular' student.

Head master Richard Cairns said: 'It is with great sadness that the school learnt today that one of our former pupils, Eric Swaffer, died at the weekend.

'Eric was at Brighton College from 1979 to 1983 and fell in love with flying when, as a schoolboy cadet, he visited a Royal Navy ship flight deck.

'His contemporaries and teachers remember him as a kind and popular boy. We send our deepest condolences to his family.'

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