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‘Today should have been our happiest’: Fiancee’s tribute to Aberdeen HGV driver George Walker on what should have been their wedding day

The Mugiemoss couple were planning their wedding when a tragic chain of events "robbed" them of their future.

Jacqui Jamieson and her husband-to-be George Walker.
Jacqui Jamieson and her husband-to-be George Walker.

On what should have been their wedding day, Mugiemoss bride-to-be Jacqui Jamieson is instead paying tribute to “love of her life” George Walker who died just weeks before the couple were due to tie the knot.

An accident “that could happen to anyone” led to a devastating chain of events for diabetic George, who passed away at home aged 56.

“I’m just so sad,” Jacqui said. “Today should have been so, so different.”

He always loved being outdoors

George Walker was born on January 5, 1968, the youngest child of Meg and George Walker from Gourdon.

Along with his siblings, he attended Gourdon Primary School then Mackie Academy, but was always more interested in what went on outside the classroom than what was happening in it.

George, Kay and Alan Walker

On leaving school George began working in Gourdon Mill but hated being stuck indoors. It was while working there, however, that he met and married Shona McDiarmid.

As newlyweds the couple lived in a cottage owned by his employer, but they later moved to Inverbervie then Laurencekirk.

Together they had two “incredible” sons, Kieran and Gareth, adored by George.

When the marriage broke down after 20 years, George eventually settled in Portlethen.

Lorry driving became George’s passion

Determined to build a life for himself outside the confines of the mill, George qualified as an HGV driver in his 20s, opening up the world and new career opportunities.

A young George Walker.

Driving across Scotland, and further afield to Europe, he would remain a driver for the rest of his working life, latterly driving soft fruits to their destination, for Stewarts of Tayside.

Love in the time of Covid

Four years ago George met accountant Jacqui Jamieson from Aberdeen, on a dating website.

“I was just about to come off it,” said Jacqui, 54, “then I got a message from George.

“It was still during all the Covid restrictions so we met at the beach in Aberdeen.”

Although Jacqui was initially cautious, George was “all in” from the start.

“Oh he was so sure I was right for him,” she said. “He wanted to meet me again and before long he would come to my house to see me.”

Jacqui and George, in happier times.

Their love blossomed and in 2021 George popped the question.

“Well it was less of a proposal and more of him saying how much he loved me and how we needed to get married. It makes everything now all the more sad. He was so sure that we should be together forever,” she added.

Belt buckle tragedy thwarted wedding plans

Today should have been their wedding day.

With the Palm Court hotel in Aberdeen booked, and the honeymoon planned, Jacqui recalls the devastating chain of events that led to her fiancé passing away.

“George was diabetic. His mum passed away at 55 because of that, and both his siblings have it too but it was particularly hard on George.

“When we met he had already had the toes on his left foot removed.”

George drove for Stewart’s of Tayside and previously for Grampian Continental.

After a year the couple moved in together but an everyday accident would change George’s life forever.

“He stood on a belt buckle with his right foot and ended up in hospital for nine months,” Jacqui explained.

In sickness and in health

Diabetes sufferers are at much greater risk of developing foot problems because raised blood sugar can damage the sensation in feet.

The same issue can affect circulation, leading to less blood supply to the feet. Cuts and sores can heal slowly and pain can be a resultant factor.

“He got infections, it wasn’t healing… it eventually turned black with gangrene.”

In May last year, after requiring a below-knee amputation, Jacqui and George moved into a more accessible home together in Mugiemoss.

Recovering from his amputation with his dog Luna.

Feeling hopeful about their future together, George was keen to plan for the wedding. But his recovery wasn’t simple.

“He had to go on dialysis for his kidneys, which began failing due to the diabetes too.

“He was improving but the dialysis was really hard on his body – especially on his heart.”

‘I knew something was wrong’

The strain on his major organs led to George having two “mini-strokes” and then a heart attack.

“We found out his heart was only working to 30 per cent of its capacity.

“Fluid was building up all over his body, and his hand was really sore,” Jacqui added. “Just a couple of months ago he had two more fingers removed.”

This further amputation felt like a turning point. For the “first time in ages” George felt good. He was in less pain and returned to his normal “chatty self.”

George, as his friends and family knew and loved him.

But just three weeks ago everything changed.

“I hadn’t heard from him so called the dialysis unit. He wasn’t there so I knew something was wrong.

“I came home and there he was. I did CPR on him until the ambulance arrived but it was too late.”

Today should have been so different

George died on Thursday, May 23, aged 56.

Instead of checking off her wedding to-do list, Jacqui helped organise George’s funeral.

“He had a huge character, was so cheeky. Do you know what song he talked about for a funeral? Highway to Hell!

“It’s funny and desperately sad. We had everything ahead of us.

“I feel like we’ve been robbed of our future.

“Today, June 14th, should have been the first day of the rest of our lives.”

Loveable gent, sorely missed

A celebration of George’s life took place at Aberdeen Funeral Home on May 31.

Guests were asked to wear Aberdeen shirts in honour of Dons fan George.

Supported by George’s family and her daughter Taylor, Jacqui will celebrate George today over a meal, and will spend time with close friends to take her mind off the wedding.

George and his boys Kieran and Gareth.

“And then my mum and I will go to Turkey.

“It should have been our honeymoon but I was refused a refund so we thought the best way to honour George was to go and enjoy it, in his favourite place.”

Asked how she will remember “the love of her life” Jacqui was quick to reply.

“He was a big loveable gentleman. The best dad. The best partner.

“It’s just so, so sad. I miss him more than I have the words to say.”