A boyfriend today told of his grief after his student girlfriend died on a Caribbean holiday two days after complaining of a headache.
Gemma Battersby, 26, had been on holiday with Gavin de Souza when she succumbed to an aggressive form of leukaemia she knew nothing about.
The newly qualified physiotherapist, who had graduated from a London college, had been kayaking on the day she went to hospital with a severe headache that quickly led to unconsciousness.
Sudden illness: Gemma Battersby had been kayaking with her boyfriend Gavin de Souza in the Caribbean before she fell ill
Her mother Barbara flew out to be with her daughter but was unable to speak to her again and she died hours later.
Mr de Souza, 32, a personal trainer, is originally from Trinidad and Miss Battersby had gone there with him to meet his family.
She had gained a first-class honours degree in PE and sports science from Exeter University and had just completed a physiotherapy masters degree at King's College, London.
Devastated: The 26-year-old had just gained a master degree in physiotherapy and was due to start her first job in Poole, Dorset
Her devastated mother and sister Victoria collected the certificate in their daughter's honour on graduation day last week.
Mrs Battersby said afterwards: 'It was probably the hardest thing I've had to do, but they gave Gemma a standing ovation.
'I know she was my daughter, but she was just amazing. She did everything and was so independent. She wanted so much out of life.'
Gemma and Gavin flew to the Caribbean last month and she died on Christmas Eve.
On Gemma's Facebook site Mr de Souza has posted a poignant photo of the happy couple on the kayaking trip on the day she went into hospital.
He has written underneath it: 'This is Sunday morning. We went kayaking for about an hr. The same day she went into hospital. She was so happy.'
He added on her profile page on the social networking site: 'I spent the last year or so doing everything with you and now everything I do is with you in my thoughts.'
Miss Battersby had secured her first job as a physiotherapist in Poole, Dorset, which she was about to start.
Hundreds of mourners packed into her local church in her home town of Bournemouth for her funeral and her Facebook site has dozens of tributes to her.Original here