Widowed presenter Simon Thomas has found happiness once again, as he took to Instagram to reveal that he has married his partner, Derrina Jebb.
The former Blue Peter presenter, 48, took to Instagram on Sunday to share a snap of himself looking elated as he walked his elegant bride, 30, down the aisle before an applauding congregation of well-wishers at Norwich Cathedral.
Captioning the heartwarming image, the Norfolk-born father-of-one, who lost his first wife Gemma to leukaemia at the end of 2017, captioned the image: ‘Love. Wins.’
Cutting a dapper figure in a navy three-piece suit, Simon was seen holding hands with Derrina, who was resplendent in an off-the-shoulder gown with a sweetheart neckline.
With a veil resting atop her impeccably styled raven locks, the bride carried a colourful bouquet of flowers, while her natural beauty was highlighted with a flattering palette of makeup.
Just six weeks earlier, Simon had shared an image of himself enjoying a boat ride with Derrina as he wished her a happy birthday.
He wrote: ‘She hates #pda ‘s so all I will say is Happy 30th Birthday to the brilliant, extraordinary, fun, loving and beautiful. You’re quite simply the absolute best. I’m so very blessed to be able to do life with you.’
Special occasions: Just six weeks before the wedding was revealed, Simon took to Instagram to wish Derrina a happy 30th birthday in a heartfelt post
Tragic: Simon’s late wife Gemma Thomas tragically died in November 2017, a year after she was sent home for bed rest by her GP after visiting three times with flu-like symptoms. Pictured with their son, Ethan, now 11
Marking her previous birthday in May of last year, the TV personality thanked then-girlfriend Derrina for making him ‘happier than he dared to believe he could be again’.
Simon, who has been raising son Ethan, 11, single-handedly after losing his wife Gemma to cancer, shared a black and white snap of Derrina.
The TV presenter admitted he was ‘head over heels in love’, and said that his and his son’s life had been ‘blessed’ by Derrina, who he started dating in 2018 after reportedly meeting her through a church group.
His late wife Gemma Thomas tragically died in November 2017, a year after she was sent home for bed rest by her GP after visiting three times with flu-like symptoms.
Sharing the picture to his Instagram account, he wrote: ‘A very Happy Birthday to this very very special lady. I can’t begin to express how much this lady has changed my life.
New beginnings: In February, the couple made a major step towards preparing for their new life together, as they moved into a new home
‘She’s loved me when I was hard to love, stuck with me when I’ve messed up, walked beside me when there were easier paths to tread and made me happier than I ever dared to believe I could be again.’
He added: ‘Sometimes people don’t always see this. They say things like it’s good that she’s able to keep the boys company or be there to look after them. But Derrina isn’t some kind of carer – she’s the woman I have fallen head over heels in love with.
‘My life and my boy’s life has been massively blessed by her and she deserves all the love in the world because she’s a total one off. Happy Birthday @derrina xxxx (I know she’s not a fan of PDA’s’.
In February, the couple made a major step towards preparing for their new life together, as they moved into a new home.
Sharing a snap of himself and Derrina posing with his son, he wrote: ‘Loving starting a new chapter in a new home with this wonderful lady. She’s full of love, kindness, patience and courage.
Close bond: In an October Instagram post, Simon also paid tribute to the bond his wife-to-be had developed with his son as their relationship continued to blossom
‘To those who know, walking this path for Derrina isn’t the easiest path. Spending most of lockdown in a house that she found so hard wasn’t easy, coupled with some huge disappointments that we’ve both had to deal with in the last few months. We are blessed.’
And he also paid tribute to the bond his wife-to-be had developed with his son as their relationship continued to blossom.
Sharing a snapshot of the two hugging in October, Simon wrote: ‘Love the bond these two have. I understand a bit through everything we’ve been through; but in truth I don’t truly know what it’s like to walk in @derrina ‘s shoes.
‘Ethan might be easy to love; but to love a boy who isn’t her own flesh and blood in the way she does is something special.
‘But it’s also a path with its own unique challenges. That feeling of never being able to live up to Gemma and everything she was and still is to Ethan.
Fun-loving family: They showed their fun-loving side as a family over Christmas, when they opted to celebrate the occasion in fancy dress as cartoon favourites The Flintstones
‘That worry that she’ll always be in the shadow of all that came before – fears of inadequacy are never far away. The pervading thought that Ethan & I never chose the path we are now on so where does she fit into our lives now? The fear that she will never be good enough & will forever feel second.
‘All of these fears & worries are real; but none of them are really true. All of us are unique & all of us irreplaceable. Derrina is unique – there’s nothing second about her. She’s not in a shadow & she’s way beyond & above being good enough.
‘We love her so much for her, everything she is & everything she stands for. The love she has for Ethan is amazing & generous. She’s grown to love him like her own & we’re both massively blessed to be part of her life. #stepparenting #lovewins.’
They also showed their fun-loving side as a family over Christmas, when they opted to celebrate the occasion in fancy dress as cartoon favourites The Flintstones.
Explaining the unconventional choice, Simon wrote on Instagram: ‘Nothing has been normal about this year – most of all this most special of days #christmasday So we thought this year we’d make the most of it, make some different, fun memories and gone for it. Happy Flintstone’s Christmas. #fintstoneschristmas.’
Gratitude: In May of last year, Simon thanked his then-girlfriend for making him ‘happier than he dared to believe he could be again’
Simon and Gemma tied the knot in 2005 and were married for 12 years before Gemma suddenly passed away three days after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live in November 2018, the ex sports presenter addressed his new relationship for the first time – though he kept Derrina’s identity anonymous at the time – and said it has been ‘an incredible support’ for him.
The father-of-one admitted he could be falling in love, but said Gemma could never be replaced, saying: ‘I’m very aware she was someone I didn’t know before and have got to know over the last few weeks and months.
‘Right from the early stages – she had this empathy towards me. She’s Christian as well and that’s important to me as a man of faith.
‘She’s been an incredible support for me. She was the only person who would always pick up the phone. What I saw in her, I saw in Gemma. When she said my phone is always on, she meant it.’
The former Blue Peter presenter, who has described himself as a ‘man of faith’, reportedly met Derrina through his church.
Derrina is a church minister’s daughter and currently works in the legal industry.
Enjoying quality time: Simon often shares snapshots of the trio spending quality time together
What is acute myeloid leukaemia?
Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive and rare form of blood cancer.
The symptoms of AML usually develop over a few weeks and become more severe.
According to NHS Choices, the symptoms include:
- Pale Skin
- Frequent infections
- Unusual and frequent bleeding – including the gums and nosebleeds
In advanced cases, patients are incredibly vulnerable to life-threatening infections and internal bleeding.
If a GP suspects leukaemia, they will arrange a blood test to determine blood cell production.
In AML, stem cells within the patient’s bone marrow produce too many immature white blood cells, which are not capable of fighting infection.
This also can lead to a decrease in production of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells and platelets that help the blood to clot.
Each year around 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancer.
After diagnosis, patients need urgent chemotherapy due to the aggressive nature of the cancer.
In some cases, radiotherapy may be needed along with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Source: NHS Choices