Blackpool nurse with tumour ‘wrapped round her heart’ dies just weeks after her wedding

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Neonatal nurse Rachel Turner, of Blackpool, died only three months after her wedding and two years after being diagnosed with skin cancer in summer 2019 and her family are holding a fundraising Christmas fair in her honour

 

Gavin Turner, Oliver Turner and Rachel Turner on Gavin and Rachel's wedding day
Gavin Turner, Oliver Turner and Rachel Turner on Gavin and Rachel’s wedding day

The family and friends of a ‘lovely and caring’ young nurse who tragically died from stage 4 cancer are organising a Christmas fundraising event to help her step-children grieve.

Rachel Turner, 30, died three months after her wedding in April this year to husband Gavin Turner.

Rachel, a dedicated neonatal nurse at Royal Preston Hospital, had battled cancer since she was diagnosed with stage three melanoma in the summer of 2019.

Despite surgery and a year of immunotherapy treatment, CT scans subsequently revealed that the intensive care worker from Blackpool had a lot of tumours on her spine, chest and heart, including a six centimetre growth wrapped around her heart.

The beautiful nurse, who was Rachel Walmsley to everyone prior to taking Gavin’s name, died in July.

Her step sons, Oliver and Will Turner, aged 11 and 8, are heartbroken – and their mum, Catherine Day, says Rachel is hugely missed by everyone who knew her.

Catherine, from Blackpool, said: “We became very close. She was so young – it was just tragic. She was lovely – really caring and really fun. She had everything to live for. Rachel was a neonatal nurse at Royal Preston Hospital, and she took children on like they were her own.”

Since Rachel’s death, step sons Oliver and Will have struggled to come to terms with her tragic loss, which occurred only days after young Oliver left primary school.

Rachel and Gavin
Rachel and Gavin

Catherine said: “Oliver is struggling a bit and he has been able to have some counselling, thanks to his school, Montgomery High School, which arranged it. Will is autistic and doesn’t express himself as much. We all talk about her and talk about all the lovely times we had when Rachel was part of our lives.

“She married Gavin in April, and it was such a moving ceremony. We knew what the outcome was going to be, so it was a very touching and very special time. She had been given six months to live by then – but unfortunately, she died around three months later. She was just so young and healthy, apart from the cancer.”

Despite undergoing treatment at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital, Royal Preston Hospital, and at Rosemere Cancer Centre on Sharoe Green Lane in Fulwood, Rachel lost her battle with cancer.

Now the community that loved and supported Rachel is running a fundraising Christmas fair in Blackpool on Saturday (December 4) in her memory to help raise money for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation that looked after her.

Rachel Turner when she turned 30
Rachel Turner when she turned 30

Catherine and Oliver have organised prizes, a Santa’s grotto, tombolas and stalls at the fun event which will take place this Saturday.

It is taking place at First Bispham Scouts Hut on Devonshire Road, FY2 0JT, between 10am and 3pm.

The fun event will feature a bottle tombola, a toy tombola, a mixed tomola, a ‘massive cake stall’ and prizes up for grabs including a family ticket to a musical at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens as well as a sign language course.

Catherine said: “I am hoping that this will help Oliver to cope. I have explained that we will be helping other families that are going through what we have been through, and he knows how hard that is. He’s a bit nervous. At first, he thought everyone was going to be really sad on Saturday, but I’ve explained that everyone’s going to be really happy because it’s a fun day and it will help other people at the same time.”