Student dies of leukaemia, one day after his marriage

An Oxford University student has died from leukaemia on the day after he married his girlfriend, despite the best efforts of friends and family to find him a bone marrow donor.

Matt Carver, 22, married fellow student Nicola Godfrey, 21, at Brasenose College Chapel on 31 July. The couple, who had got engaged before Mr Carver was diagnosed with the disease in January, brought forward the date of the ceremony after doctors had informed him that his condition was terminal.

The pair had originally intended to marry after they graduated, but altered their plans after doctors told them it was too late for Mr Carver to have a bone marrow transplant. The day after the ceremony he complained of feeling unwell and died in hospital a short time afterwards.

Mr Carver, from Newport, South Wales, had been studying for a masters in medieval history at Brasenose College. He was a member of the rowing, cricket and rugby teams. The college chaplain, the Rev Graeme Richardson, described him as an outstanding all-round student.

Mr Carver's widow, Nicola, who studies maths at New College, said her husband had been determined to beat leukaemia and had been "very, very brave" throughout his battle with the disease. She added: "I'm just so happy we made it to the wedding day. It was a true celebration of our love and was everything that we had dreamed of.

"Matt was desperate to get married and it was such a relief to get through the day and become his wife, but obviously we wanted more time together."

The couple decided to have a traditional white wedding, attended by 40 guests at Brasenose College, which had agreed to organise it at short notice.

Mr Carver had been having trouble walking after an exhausting regime of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. His health had seemed to be improving on their wedding day. His widow said he had been "just like any other groom" on the day of the wedding.

"He appeared to be in the best health he had been in for a long time. He looked fantastic, dressed up to the nines in his top hat and tails," she said. "But on Friday morning he took a turn for the worse and we knew he was bad.

"Matt put his heart and soul into everything he did. He was a fantastic man and I will miss him very much."

It was thought initially that Mr Carver might be able to have a life-saving bone marrow transplant operation. His future wife and her family encouraged people to visit special clinics set up in Newport, Oxford and Leeds, in the hope of finding a donor. One was hosted by the junior school Mr Carver had attended in Newport, with friends and former classmates offering help.

After doctors informed Mr Carver that his leukaemia had developed to a stage where a bone marrow transplant was no longer an option, he and his fiancée decided to bring forward their weeding plans.

The couple played in the university's wind orchestra, and first spoke to each other by a pool in St Tropez during the orchestra's tour of the French Riviera.

Mr Carver's mother Teresa said: "Matt was determined to get married and you could sense his happiness at the wedding. None of us were aware how little time was left. Emotions are running high but we have so many fond memories of Matt that will stay with us for ever."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower