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Maidstone bride-to-be asks wedding guests to donate to Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex in ex's memory

A Maidstone bride-to-be is asking wedding guests to donate to Kent's air ambulance in memory of her former partner.

Anita Wheeler was with Dean Smith for 19 years, but a tragic accident on his bike cost Dean his life in 2009.

Ten years on, Miss Wheeler has found a new love and is ready to get married for the first time.

Anita Wheeler and Alex Goodall, from Allington, Maidstone, are getting married in August. Picture: Phil Lee (10667076)
Anita Wheeler and Alex Goodall, from Allington, Maidstone, are getting married in August. Picture: Phil Lee (10667076)

The 52-year-old said: "Me and Dean were together for 19 years, he was my childhood sweetheart."

The nanny will be marrying her new partner, Alex Goodall, at Allington Castle in August.

Since Dean's death, the Allington resident has raised thousands of pounds for Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex.

Kent Messenger covered Anita's last fundraiser for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust in 2010. Picture: Phil Lee (10667078)
Kent Messenger covered Anita's last fundraiser for Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust in 2010. Picture: Phil Lee (10667078)

She said: "Alex was the one who suggested asking for donations instead of wedding gifts, he said 'I know how much this means to you, I just want to make you happy'.

"He knew Dean from parties and he knew how close we were.

"I met Alex properly about seven months ago and now we're getting married, it's like a fairy tale, he's like a guardian angel sent to look after me.

Anita Wheeler and Alex Goodall, from Allington, Maidstone, are getting married in August. Picture: Phil Lee (10667082)
Anita Wheeler and Alex Goodall, from Allington, Maidstone, are getting married in August. Picture: Phil Lee (10667082)

"He's met Dean's family and they all approve, I'm excited to finally be getting married but also a bit nervous."

Dean's funeral saw friends and family donate £3,020 toward the air ambulance trust and Miss Wheeler raised a further £3,350 by performing a tandem skydive in 2010.

Now she hopes to raise around £1,000 for her wedding.

Dean Smith from Maidstone, who died in a bike accident in Surrey in May 2009
Dean Smith from Maidstone, who died in a bike accident in Surrey in May 2009

Miss Wheeler added: "We've set up a fundraising page and we'll have a donation box at the wedding as well.

"Alex is divorced and at our age we both have everything we need at home, we didn't really see the need in asking people to give us gifts.

"I felt bad asking people for money again but a lot of people have said they'd be happy to, the air ambulance makes a real difference.

"They're out their saving lives when the worst can happen and they need so much public support, I'm happy to help."

To donate to Miss Wheeler's fundraising page, click herevisit tinyurl.com/anitaalex.

For more news from around Maidstone, click here.

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