A BRIDE-TO-BE whose fiance was killed in a motorway crash has decided to celebrate what would have been her wedding day with family and friends at a theme park.
Dionne McKinlay, 28, was due to marry firefighter Paul Cross, 31, on Saturday.
But his life was cut short when his motorbike was involved in a fatal accident on the M66 at Bury just five weeks ago, as he was on his way to work at Blackley Fire Station.
Now Dionne, of Bertha Street, Accrington, who has a three-year-old son, Ethan, with Paul, has bravely decided she wants to mark what would have been her big day with a day trip to Flamingo Land for family, friends and colleagues.
She said: "It was suggested that we should go out for a meal but I didn't want that as I would just have been clock-watching. I am trying so hard to be positive and I really want loved ones around me so I can get through the day.
"I just want Saturday to be over and then I can start to think about moving forward."
Paul's dad, Glenn, said: "It will be a very emotional day but Dionne has been very brave and wants us all to get together and have a day of celebration. She said that the day would have been so important, so instead of sitting and dwelling on what has happened we must try and enjoy a fun day out.
"I am sure that it is what Paul would have wanted."
Between 50 and 70 people, including members of Paul's watch at the Manchester fire station, are setting off for the park and zoo in Malton, North Yorkshire, when the crew comes off the night shift which Paul would have been working.
Paul's brother Lee approached Fraser Eagle Coaches, based in Padiham, to find out how much a coach would cost for the day, and it offered the transport free of charge, saving the family £800.
Glenn said: "All the family would have been celebrating together and we are still going to celebrate together.
"Dionne is being very positive at the moment and is looking forward to going.
"She chose Flamingo Land because it will be great for all the family. Ethan will love the zoo with all the different animals, people can go on all the rides and there are also quiet spots where we can go and collect our thoughts.''
Dionne added: "Paul had a good send-off at his funeral and now I want my special day.
"Paul will never be a closed chapter in my life and Saturday will be a day I will always remember, but when it is over I need to concentrate on getting Ethan back into a routine and moving on."
Marketing services manager at Fraser Eagle Coaches, Michelle Hurst, said: "We are happy to support the family and want to provide something that will help to ease such a sensitive and difficult day,''