A devastated dad has told of his agony after his first wife was killed in a freak road accident – and his second wife was paralysed when she fell in the shower.
Ian Freeman, 40, met first wife Maxine Wilson at a speed-dating night in September 2007 and they married the next year.
The couple went on to have two children, Daisy, seven, and Joshua, five, before the family moved from Milton Keynes to Soham, in Cambridgeshire.
But when Maxine drove to the shops at 10.45am on May 3, 2014 she hit a pothole and careered into the path of an oncoming lorry.
The 37-year-old charity worker was killed instantly on Queen Adelaide Way in Ely and Ian received the devastating news from the police two hours later.
Months later Ian and his children moved to Sleaford, Lincs., to be close to his relatives and he trained as a science teacher to get more time with Daisy and Joshua.
In November 2014 he met Louise Parsons after she messaged him on a dating website which Ian had forgotten to close down after meeting Maxine.
Ian explained his mistake and they agreed to be friends but they soon fell in love and after a whirlwind romance, they got married on May 28 last year.
But on September 26 tragedy struck again when 35-year-old Louise slipped in the shower and broke her neck, leaving her paralysed from the shoulders down.
She was rushed to hospital after her accident before being transferred to a specialist spinal unit at Sheffield Hospital where she is still recovering.
The nursery nurse is now stranded in hospital after doctors told her she cannot return home until Ian makes their home wheelchair accessible.
Ian is now desperately trying to raise funds to install ramps and widen doors at the property so Louise can return home.
Ian said: “I have never thought ‘Why me,’ but when I was called about Louise my immediate thought was, ‘at least she’s not dead’.
“It sounds so wrong, but what happened to Maxine went through me head straight away.
“As a family we were just starting to rebuild. Daisy and Joshua love Louise – they call her mum and they call Maxine mummy.
“Daisy really wasn’t the same after Maxine died, but she was just starting to get back to normal. Now I can see, she’s really gone backwards.
“Before Christmas we went to see Father Christmas and when he asked the children what they wanted, they said: ‘We want a mum again.’
“It’s just devastating to think what they’ve gone through.”
Ian was at home with Daisy and Joshua when the police visited to tell him Maxine had died on May 3, 2014.
Ian added: “It may sound odd, but when I heard the police arriving I just knew.
“She had left for Sainsbury’s that morning and after an hour I wondered where she was. I sent her a text asking if she was ok.
“When the police arrived they said her phone was in their hands when I sent that text.
“I had to tell the children that mummy wasn’t coming back.
“We moved back to Sleaford and I trained as a teacher and we were starting to rebuild when I got an email.
“I didn’t realise I was still part of the dating site which had arranged the speed dating night where I met Maxine.
“I explained to Louise that I wasn’t looking and said what had happened, and we agreed just to be friends.
“We just kept talking and the children accepted Louise straight away and on November 29, 2015 we got engaged.
“Everything was starting to get back to normal with us after we got married.
“But on September 26 I got up and when I went to work I put the kids in with Louise to wake her up.
“She was getting them ready and then went for a shower, but she fell and hit her head against the wall and broke her neck.
“She said she knew straight away it was broken, but the bathroom door was locked.
“She was left on the floor but managed to call Daisy through the door who called an ambulance.
“I got the phone call at 10.30am from my brother, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Louise was taken to Nottingham Hospital where she stayed for one month, before being transferred to Sheffield Hospital.
Ian’s home must be made wheelchair accessible before Louise can return, but the council cannot complete all of the work due to a disagreement over planning permission.
Ian said: “Long before we had the house, over a decade ago, the previous owners extended the kitchen without planning permission.
“Because it’s been over a certain period of time, the council cannot knock it down, but because it did not have planning permission they refuse to touch it.
“The council have helped out with the rest of the house, but the extension is raised from the main house, meaning most of the kitchen is not wheelchair accessible.
“So we now have to raise money to complete the rest of the work.
“There is so much bureaucracy with handing out contracts through the council that it will probably be the end of May until they have finished.
“After that we then have to complete our alterations to the extension. We are thankful for what the council have done, but this is very frustrating.”
Ian is appealing for funds to pay for the modifications to his home on: https://www.gofundme.com/freemans-house-renovation