A FORMER Ripon student who had found love again after his 19-year-old fiance was killed in a car crash, died on his 23rd birthday this week, leaving behind his newly-wed wife.
Simon Oakes, 23, had been for lunch in York with wife Sarah, 21, and was driving home to Kirkbymoorside when his blue Rover crashed into a tree on Monday afternoon.
Sarah escaped with minor injuries but Simon, a former student at Ripon Grammar, died in hospital later that night.
Three years ago, Simon's fiance, Katie Sheppard, of Skelton-on-Ure died after a car crash near Knaresborough. Katie worked at Bettys in Harrogate and the company later set up a young people's fund in her memory.
Simon, who worked at the Living Well Health Club in York, met his wife Sarah 18 months after Katie's death in 2001.
He and Sarah married in August and nobody was happier for him than Mrs Eve Sheppard, Katie's mother.
"We stayed in touch, he rang us every week and he and Sarah often came down to see us," she said.
"He was part of our family and we were so happy when he met Sarah. She made him so happy and it was great to see Simon happy again – she is wonderful and they were the perfect couple.
"We are devastated and you just don't think this can happen twice. It feels like I've lost another child."
A devastated Mrs Julie Oakes, of York, this week paid a moving tribute to her son whom she described as "a gentle giant".
"He was the most compassionate, caring and thoughtful person and he was the best. He was also the best listener. I have a million and one memories of him and I am just so glad that I have them."
Simon's funeral will take place at York Minster on Wednesday at 10am.