YOUNG-at-heart Gary Savory’s final words were to wish his little girl a happy birthday, less than two months after he walked her down the aisle.
The 53-year-old lost his battle with stomach cancer on March 1, the day after his only daughter Hayley’s 30th birthday.
The mum-of-four from Penhill said: “I have lots of lovely memories of him, and it hasn’t really sunk in yet that they are just memories. I just hope they are enough.
“It was my 30th birthday the day before and I was staying with my mum that night because we were told that he didn’t have long and I got a call from my partner asking me to come home and look after the kids because they weren’t very well. So I came home and he was gone within the hour.
“I think things happen for a reason – it meant that mum and dad were on their own and had that time together.
“The last thing he said was ‘happy birthday Lou, I love you’, and that was the last thing he said. “I think he held on to be at my birthday and then he didn’t want to go on my birthday, so he passed the day after.”
Gary was well-known around the town for his humour and his sense of fun.
Hayley said: “He was a cool dad. He was one of those dads who still think they are 18.
“He was quite well known, and when I last looked there were 600 reviews on the deaths page of the Adver.”
Gary was diagnosed less than six months ago with the terminal disease which finally took his life.
When he quickly began to deteriorate in November last year, Hayley decided it was time to tie the knot with partner of seven years Will Tsang, so that her dad could give her away.
She only gave herself four weeks to organise everything for the big day, and had only planned for a simple civil service ceremony, but after her friend posted a message on Facebook hundreds of people around Swindon rallied together to make her wedding extra special.
She said: “Like most little girls I always wanted my dad to give me away at my wedding.
“I had been with my partner for a few years and we always thought we would get married, but we would do it later.
“Originally it was going to be a surprise and I was going to tell my Dad the night before, but my friend put on Facebook my whole story and said she really wanted me to have the party and the big wedding.
“I had over 200 people messaging me with all sorts of help.
“I just want to say a big thank you to all those people who helped me to make those memories.”
The funeral will take place on Thursday at Kingsdown Crematorium. The family request no flowers but donations to Prospect Hospice.
For more information contact Pearce Funeral Services in 01793 832072.