A teacher with terminal cancer fulfilled his most important vow on Friday when he married fiancee Linda Birzniece in an emotional ceremony at Smiths Court Hotel, Cliftonville.
It was the start of a hectic weekend for Luke Williams, who teaches IT at Hartsdown Academy in Margate.
The 29-year-old was diagnosed with mouth cancer last year and developed secondary cancer in his lungs. In May he was told he had only six months to live.
Since then, he has vowed to live life to the full, working through a bucket list of dreams. As part of his efforts, he has raised almost £22,000 for Pilgrims Hospices and Cancer Research UK in less than a month.
Luke proposed to girlfriend Linda on a geocaching adventure, which saw her answer clues from some of Luke’s close friends and then visit various meaningful sites that the couple haved shared over the years.
The final clue sent her to their favourite place to walk their dog Lexy – and at Westbrook beach Luke was waiting on the sand and took to one knee to propose.
The day after the wedding saw the start of a huge fundraising effort, called the Williams Weekender.
On Saturday, dozens of people took part in a sponsored dog walk from Westgate prom to Margate Winter Gardens and back to The Knot in Westgate for a barbecue party.
On Sunday, Luke’s love of sport was celebrated with a mini soccer tournament at the Baypoint leisure centre in Sandwich, with matches featuring Luke’s EKC Bears, Active Legends, Williams Allstars and TSFL XI.
An auction on Sunday included a framed boxing glove signed by legends including Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier and George Foreman; a Manchester United shirt signed by Cristiano Ronaldo; a rugby All Blacks shirt; a tour of Liverpool FC for two; hospitality box tickets for England v Ukraine; and London tickets to see comedian Lee Evans.
Luke, of Westfield Road, decided to stop having aggressive cancer treatment and is now having palliative care so that he can enjoy his remaining days.
Staff, governors and pupils at Hartsdown Academy are also raising funds, with about £1,100 collected so far.
As well as personal donations, there have been fundraising efforts including a cake bake competition, while governor Richard Boyd is running a marathon in September.
Executive head teacher Andy Somers said: “We are proud to be able to support Luke in his fundraising. He is a remarkable young man and we are all behind him 100% of the way.”
Luke said: “The support that has been given to me and my family by the Pilgrims hospice in Margate is unbelievable.
“They are unsung heroes and I want to raise as much money for them as possible.”
Luke’s bucket list also includes seeing his favourite side Liverpool at Anfield on August 17; going to V Festival on August 16; and attending the wedding of best friend Liam Morris in Crete on August 26.
Liam, 29, a fellow coach at East Kent College Football Club, said: “Luke is a great character. So many people love him and he’s got the best outlook on life of anyone I know.”
n A five-a-side tournament will take place on Sunday, August 17, in Margate. For details, call Albert Finigan on 07973 909107.
n To make a donation, go to www.gofundme.com/LukeyWilliams