Woman stranded in Australia after fiancé dies on Xmas Day days before wedding


A woman has been left heartbroken after her partner died on Christmas Day – just three days before they were due to tie the knot.

Donna Jones, 50 and her fiancé Jeff Walker, 57, got engaged six years ago and were due to get married in 2020, but were forced to change their plans due to the coronavirus pandemic. But after setting a new wedding date, the couple were hoping for the “holiday of a lifetime” when they left Manchester Airport in December.




Sadly on December 22, during their flight from Dubai to Perth, Jeff became poorly very quickly and collapsed outside the plane’s toilets. After landing in Australia, he was immediately transferred by ambulance to Royal Perth Hospital.

The evening before Donna, Aaron and Jeff flew from Dubai to Australia(Lancs Live/MEN Media)

Five hours later, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, reports LancsLive. On Christmas Day, he died in hospital.

As Jeff’s son Conner lives in Australia, the family held a cremation and funeral in Perth following his death. It meant they were unable to make their original return trip from Sydney in time. Now, Donna says she has been stranded in Australia after Emirates Airlines dialled back on a promise to switch their flights home to Blackpool.

Still in Australia, Donna said: “We got the flight at 1.30am, the day before he was swimming on the 42nd floor in an infinity pool, we went on a desert safari. He was eating and drinking normally, he was just tired. Obviously, with the time differences we were all tired so none of us really thought anything of it.”

She added: “We were supposed to come three year’s ago to see his [Jeff’s] son, but obviously Covid stopped that from happening… His son came home last Christmas, so we decided we were going to go out this Christmas. We just decided in the summer, ‘that’s it, we’re going to get married whilst we’re there’.”

A date was set and on December 18, 2023 the couple, as well as Donna’s 14-year-old son Aaron, flew out from Manchester and spent three days holidaying in Dubai. Other than lethargy, Donna says Jeff had a cold a few weeks before he was taken ill but largely, he appeared to be in perfectly fine health. Four weeks before flying out, the dad even swam 10k in a day to raise money for cancer after his cousin’s nephew died from leukaemia 20 years ago.



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