DEVASTATED family members have paid touching tribute to the “soulmates” who died on their honeymoon in the Maldives this weekend.
Newlyweds Jonathan and Emma Gray, of Heath Lea, Halifax, were killed when the quad bike or four-wheel drive they were passengers in crashed into a tree on the Kuredu Island Resort.
The pair, who are parents to six-month-old Jake, had married just a week earlier, on July 30, at St Bartholomew’s Church in Ripponden.
Jonathan’s twin brother Michael told the Courier yesterday that both familes were struggling to come to terms with the death of the “childhood sweethearts”. He said: “We’re just devastated - absolutely on our knees. We’re in shock and all pulling together as one big family.
“They were the perfect couple. They were soulmates and their little boy was so special to them. Jake’s with us at the moment, with family.”
He said the couple knew each other as neighbours when they were young and met up again years later and fell in love.
Jonathan proposed to Emma - whose maiden name is Oldfield - as they rode in a horse and cart in New York on New Year’s Eve 2009.
Eighteen months later they wed in Ripponden and held their reception at Halifax’s Holdsworth House.
Michael said: “It was the the most special day to both families - and to them - that any of us have ever had. It was perfect. It was everything to them - their big day.”
Tributes were already mounting yesterday at the couple’s home from their many friends.
“They were incredibly popular. They held everyone together. They were like the social hub - everyone came to them and they had a huge group of friends between them, and family - everyone is very close and tight,” he said.
Emma, a former pupil at Ryburn Valley High School, was a teacher at Holy Trinity Primary School in Halifax, and Jonathan, a former Crossley Heath pupil, worked as a manager at kitchen designers Nobilia GB Ltd in Mytholmroyd.
Michael said: “They were both high flyers, both doing well in their careers. They had such a great future ahead of them. They’ll be greatly missed.”
Rev Chris Wray, who conducted the wedding service for the couple, said: “They were obviously deeply in love with each other. The wedding service itself was a really wonderful affair. Everybody really enjoyed it. It was a service of celebration.
“The couple themselves were delightful, to be quite honest.
“A young couple, just starting out and this happens. Not just myself, but the whole parish, are shocked and thinking of their family and friends at this time.”
Police in the Maldives are still investigating the circumstances of the crash, which happened at 4am on Saturday (Maldives time).
The driver of the vehicle was also injured and is still in hospital.
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