A WOMAN is taking on the Bournemouth Pier to Pier swim in memory of her father-in-law who had a cardiac arrest on her wedding day. 

Sarah Foreland, 36, of Ringwood, and her husband Dean’s two-day wedding took place over the August bank holiday weekend in 2022.

She and Dean had planned for a small ceremony at Poole Guildhall with 20 people, with a big party set for the following day. But tragedy struck when her new father-in-law, John Bullock, left to drive home after the ceremony. 

Sarah said: “It was a complete shock and felt as if time had stood still. But we held onto the hope that John has always been such a lucky guy, he’ll pull through this.” 

John was put on life support and all his family could do was wait. He died two days later, on Monday, August 29, 2022, at 68 years of age. 

Sarah said: “John had always been fairly fit and healthy. He loved to play sports like squash and golf. He was an optimist and lived life to the fullest. There was no indication anything was wrong, and he’d seemed fine the whole day. 

“We didn’t know what to do about the second day of the wedding. The family said to carry on as John loved a party and we felt that ‘when’ he came round he would be devastated to have ruined a party, so we tried to put on a brave face.  

“After our speeches we found out the devastating news that his life support would be turned off the next day.

“It was a very difficult time. John was such a big part of everyone’s life.” 

Now, as the couple’s first wedding anniversary, and the first anniversary of John’s death nears, Sarah and her husband chose to have a vow renewal ceremony on Saturday, June 10 so they have a new “wedding date” and August will be when the family remember and celebrate John’s life. 

Sarah, who is a keen swimmer and has taken part in the 1.4-mile Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim twice before, said: “John is my inspiration for taking on this year’s swim. We’d planned on taking part in the Bournemouth Pier to Pier before the pandemic. Unfortunately, we never got to do it together, so I wanted to honour him by doing it this year in his name. I know he’ll be with me in spirit.” 

The Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim takes place on Saturday, July 1.

To help Sarah reach her fundraising target, visit her JustGiving page here.