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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 21:51 GMT
'Gay wedding' man dies of cancer
Matthew Roche and Christopher Cramp
Matthew Roche and Christopher Cramp at St Barnabas Hospice
A terminally ill man believed to be the first in Britain to "marry" his partner in a civil partnership has died just one day after the ceremony.

Matthew Roche, 46, who had lung cancer, and Christopher Cramp held their ceremony hours after the Civil Partnership Act became law on Monday.

The couple, from Brighton, were given special permission to go ahead before the normal 15-day waiting period.

The ceremony was held at St Barnabas Hospice in Worthing, West Sussex.

About 20 family and friends were at the hospice where Mr Roche had been cared for during the last four weeks of his life.

For most couples in England, the first day they will be allowed to tie the knot is 21 December.

Mr Roche feared that he would not live that long and Mr Cramp applied to the Worthing registrar for special permission for their ceremony to go ahead straight away.

Matthew Roche with Christopher Cramp before he became ill
The couple before Mr Roche became seriously ill

The couple, who have been together seven years, were legally joined at 1100 GMT on Monday.

The hospice said Mr Roche died on Tuesday afternoon.

After the civil partnership, Mr Roche had said: "I really, really needed to get married and we are very lucky indeed to be given the opportunity.

"Chris and I have always wanted to do this - it is just a shame that I have been taken so early."

Mr Cramp said he had mixed feelings about the bitter-sweet occasion.

But he said he was very happy that the couple had managed to reach the point where they could be in a legal partnership.

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