Monday, November 8, 2010

The Littlest Hero

In order to explain the excitement, pride and honour I felt at a certain phone call last Tuesday evening, I must first offer up a little background information. This is going to be difficult to do as I don't want to reveal any names because, while not quite a secret, this whole thing is being kept quite close to the chest.

So, before I get underway, I must ask that if you know me in the 'real world' and can guess who this is about, please don't go shouting about it to all and sundry.

Back in January, my best friend went missing for a few months as his girlfriend's mum was diagnosed with cancer (they are 22/23 years old). The family run a local farm, and as she and her parents were spending lots of time in and out of hospital, she had to drop out of Uni to help at home, and my mate was helping out any way he could. He was working long hours in his job (a job where his wage is based heavily on commission), and then heading to the farm to help out in the evening. He was helping in the mornings before work. He was driving people to the private hospital in London, which is about a 4/5 hour trek. He was exhausting himself trying to do what he could to make things slightly easier for his girlfriend and her family, and he was doing it to the detriment of his social life, and quite often his job... and most importantly, he was doing it without complaint.

Fortunately, after a lot of chemo, her mum started to get better, and against all odds she went into remission. Things started to get back to normal, he threw himself back into work, and more importantly, he started coming out on the beer with us again... we'd missed him.

In June, he and a few others walked Kilimanjaro for several local charities, one being a charity that cares for terminally ill patients in Pembrokeshire. They raised an astonishing amount of money - a whopping £38k, and we were all immensely proud of him.

Come September his girlfriend was due to start the first year of her Uni course again as she had to drop out the previous year. The week before she was to move up, her mum unfortunately became ill again. She cancelled all plans of going back to Uni, and my mate was prepared to help out in any way he could once again. He went back to spending all of his time in work, on the farm, or travelling up and down the M4... He was doing this at great expense to himself as the hotel and petrol bills were adding up, and the time he was taking off work was money he couldn't afford not to earn. Once again, I'd hear the odd "I'm so sorry I can't make it, I'm too tired" or "I've got to help out down the farm, sorry", but he didn't complain or moan once. He was actually more apologetic to us that he couldn't make certain events - what a dick.

In a saddening turn of events, the cancer was pronounced terminal a couple of weeks ago, and while I don't know the exact expected length of time that was given, it wasn't long. They were just trying to get her well enough to bring her home, where the charity that my mate raised nearly £8k for just a few months before, could look after her.

That brings us up to last Tuesday evening. I had just got back from rugby and was about to shower when my phone rang. My mate was giving me an update as he had been stuck in a hotel just outside London for nearly week.

"It's horrible mate... Everyone is in tears the whole time. Her mum and dad are devastated that she won't get to see her daughter married... So I've been thinking for a while, I've spoken to her dad and her sister, and I proposed this morning."

I was chuffed to pieces and told him so...

"And what's more, we're doing it a week Friday".

This got more of a "are you fucking kidding me?" response... but he was serious. They were planning a wedding for 10 days time. I had to ask that he made sure he was doing something he wanted to, and not something he felt he needed to, and his response of "To be honest, I always knew I'd marry her, I'm just doing it a few years earlier than I'd imagined" got me pretty choked up.

The tears then started flowing properly when he said that they both wanted me to play a set at the wedding, and more importantly, play for their first dance. I couldn't have been more honoured and accepted instantly. I was buzzing for the whole evening.

My other best mate, he who will be one of the Best Men, and who I spent the weekend with, was telling me on Saturday how he had received a phone call the night before which hadn't been so happy. Our friend was stressing over the amount of work he had to do to organise the wedding, he was dealing with the inevitable emotion involved in the whole situation, and he had contracted food poisoning. He wasn't in the best of places and there were a lot of tears flowing.

Thankfully, when I saw him last night, he was absolutely bouncing. They had found a dress, the marquee was up, the rings were bought, the church was booked, the guests all told, the DJ booked and the food and transport sorted. There were hundreds of little things left to do obviously, but the major problems were under control and he was the most excited I had ever seen him. Once again, it was obvious he was under a lot of pressure, but he didn't once moan, or even bat an eyelid when he admitted he was PAYING FOR ALOT OF THE THING HIMSELF. He did say the cost was being shared equally between himself, the Bride's parents, and his own parents, but he is forking out A LOT OF MONEY over the next couple of weeks, and doing it with the biggest smile on his face that I have ever seen. Did I mention he was only TWENTY BLOODY THREE?

So, Saturday will be a pretty emotional day. If worst comes to worst and she passes away before Saturday, they will obviously postpone for a year or so... but as it stands, Saturday will be filled with laughter, love, tears, poorly played guitar, several short jokes aimed at the Groom himself, and I'm sure a Mother In Law that has had one of her dreams come true.

So, this is for you, you short-arsed little prick. I couldn't be more proud of you than I am right now... You are pulling off the impossible with apparent ease, making several peoples dreams come true, and bringing some pretty hard-bastard blokes to tears. You are a hero and I bloody love you. I could not be happier for you both and I am sure you will enjoy a long and happy marriage.

And the best news yet? He's only gone and organised a free bar all day and night! WHAT A FUCKING LEGEND!


  1. This is utterly heartwarming.

    Congratulations x


  2. Absolutely brilliant. Fair play to the fella.


  3. What a fantastic (and heartbreaking) story! All the love and luck in the world to your friend, his wife to be and their families. Play a blinder, Davie xx

  4. what a great man X

  5. Mazing.......hats off XXXX

  6. utterly numbing, sad and heartwarming all at the same time. Good luck & smile every morning when the sun comes up xx

  7. Genuinely lit my day up reading this. :)


  8. That's so beautiful. What a special guy

    Little Brown Bird x

  9. Heartwarming beyond belief, properly restored my faith in humanity

  10. Humbled. Bittersweet. Legend.

  11. no wonder you've been feeling so proud. best wishes to your friends, I hope they have a great day, (I'm sure it will be full of emotion), and many very happy years together


  12. What a great story - of how people *can* work together, selflessly.

    I wish them all the best day of their lives, and will raise a glass with The Ledgers© Sat night.

    I demand a recording of I'm Yours and Drops Of Jupiter, which are perfect songs - and ones that you'll nail Davie*

    *If it's not raining on your face.

  13. I have a seven year old son. If he grows up to be half the man your friend is I will be exceptionally proud. He is a real MAN


  14. Wish my sisters fella was half the man your mate is. All the best to them.

    Great song choices as well. Hope you put them up