It was the day that she was due to marry her fiancé, 27-year-old former soldier, Matt Hodges, but Matt died in February this year driving home from work.
They met at St Francis Primary School in Falmouth, growing up on the same housing estate, though they wouldn’t become a couple until after Matt had joined the Army. They kept touch with each other through Facebook whilst Matt was posted to Germany, and when he returned they started seeing each other.
Matt, centre, at the school where he would meet Emily.
They became engaged in September 2013, with Matt proposing during a surprise picnic on Harlyn Bay beach, chosen because they often walked their dog, Marvin, there.
Matt and Emily with Marvin the pug at Halyn Bay beach, where Matt proposed. The picture was taken a year to the day from when Matt proposed.
Just a year later their lives would change as Matt would be medically discharged from the Army after serving for seven years. The Legion was there for Matt, helping him transition to civilian life, enabling him to find a job with BT working as part of the poling gang doing overhead wiring.
“It was Matt’s favourite charity. The legion was close to his heart. He liked what the charity stands for.”Emily Gormley
As a PTI in the Army and self-confessed adrenaline junkie Matt always wanted to take on a marathon or sky-dive to raise money and say thank you to the Legion. Sadly this dream would never be realised.
To remember Matt and fulfil his wish Emily decided to take on the challenge, choosing a sky-dive as it was one of his dreams. As he was unable to walk her down the aisle, her father joined her in the skies.
Left: Emily with Marvin at the Cornish Parachute Club. Right: Emily with her father Kevin after her sky-dive.
“The Legion helped Matt and he thought a lot of them. I share the same feeling. I’ve never done a sky dive before. I’m nervous about it but it’s what he wanted to do. I’m doing it for Matt.”Emily Gormley
Emily and her father boarding the plane, ready to jump at 10,000 feet.
Emily skydived from 10,000 feet wearing her wedding ring and garter. She smashed her fundraising target, and did both herself and Matt proud.
“It was a very emotional day knowing what it should have been and I didn’t sleep a wink the night before. Of course there was a lot of sadness, but I feel like we truly made the best of the day.
“We marked the day in a way which Matt would have liked – full of laughter and smiles.”
Emily and her father, Kevin, jumped at about 11.30am on Friday, free-falling for 35 seconds before the parachute was deployed. Watching them from the ground were Emily’s family and friends.
Emily supported by her friends after her sky-dive.
The sky dive was followed by a lunch with family and friends, and after lunch they gathered on Perranporth beach for a champagne toast in Matt’s memory.
"I felt like he was with us throughout the whole thing. I felt closer to him.
He was with me and that’s why I didn’t find it difficult to do.”Emily Gormley