A SOUTHAMPTON woman who fell in love with her childhood friend after 25 years apart lost him to cancer just three months after their wedding.

Derek Campbell had already beaten prostate cancer before he was diagnosed with a separate cancer and died in May this year.

Now, his wife Sue Campbell from Chandlers Ford is taking part in Southampton’s Shine Night Walk on Saturday, October 16 to remember Derek and raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Sue said: "It’s still very raw but I feel we need to do something he would be proud of."

Daily Echo: Derek and SueDerek and Sue

The pair first met as teenagers when they both attended North End School, but when they left school, they went their separate ways and married different partners.

After both of their first marriages ended, mutual friends put them back in touch with each other and they became a couple in 2002.

In November 2018, Derek noticed he was getting up more frequently during the night to urinate, so he got checked out by his GP at St Francis Surgery.

Sue said: "The GP was brilliant and referred him to Southampton General Hospital straight away. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We were given a good prognosis as they’d caught it really early.

"In the January of 2019 he began radiotherapy and finished his treatment just before the lockdown in March 2020. He was given the all-clear and the doctors were happy with the subsequent tests.

"But in the August he started to say, 'I don’t feel right, I have a full and bloated feeling all the time.'

"The hospital did lots and lots of tests between the August and November and finally diagnosed him with CUP – cancer of unknown primary.

"He only managed to have one chemo session as he suffered an extremely bad reaction, we were then told he couldn’t have any more chemo, it was too risky.

"We knew at that point that it wasn’t good news and we were in unknown territory. We needed something positive to focus on and getting married came quickly to mind.

"We managed to get a special licence as it was lockdown, and were married at the end of January."

Derek passed away on May 2 in The Mountbatten Hospice in West End three months later.

Daily Echo: Derek Campbell 1Derek Campbell 1

Sue will be taking part in the night-time fundraiser with five family members, including two of Derek's grandchildren, Indie and Esme.

Sue said: "We want to raise money for Cancer Research UK because as well as losing Derek, all the team have been touched by the effects of cancer in some way.

"I can see how much the science can save lives. I had juvenile thyroid cancer at the age of 13, my best friend had breast cancer and another friend had leukaemia, we wouldn’t be here without the research.

"I know Derek would have been up for all of this and we’ll all be thinking of him on the night and walking in his memory."

The Southampton 10k Shine Night Walk takes place from 8pm on Saturday, October 16 at Guildhall Square.