New beginnings for shark attack widow

Gemma and Ian on their wedding day
Gemma and Ian on their wedding day

A WIGAN woman whose husband was killed by a shark on their honeymoon has spoken for the first time about her devastating loss.

Gemma Redmond’s life was turned upside when just 10 days after her wedding to Ian he was attacked by a bull shark while snorkelling off the coast of the Seychelles.

Gemma shows off some of the jewellery from her range

Gemma shows off some of the jewellery from her range

The tragedy made global headlines but three and half years later Gemma, while still clearly shattered by her loss, is attempting to re-build her life.

“It was a hard time for me, the hardest time anyone could ever have,” said Gemma. “But I am coming out of the dark now. I have a lot of support from friends and parents.”

Gemma, 27, lives in the Roby Mill cottage she and Ian spent so long renovating and which the couple planned to move in to once they were wed.

Recalling the tragic events of August 2011 in this month’s Lancashire Life, Gemma explains how she later discovered a French tourist had been killed by a shark in the Seychelles shortly before the young couple flew in.

It was a hard time for me, the hardest time anyone could ever have, but I am coming out of the dark now. I have a lot of support from friends and parents

Gemma Redmond

“Ian’s accident happened out of the blue,” she said. “We had no idea there had been previous incidents and we had no warnings. We were in a place where hundreds of people were swimming and playing in the sea and Ian was just 20 yards from the beach.

“I remember shouting ‘We just got married’, as if someone would say ‘Oh, OK then, we’ll rewind what just happened’.

“There are a few theories about why it happened but we have no idea really and however much you analyse it, it’s not going to bring him back.

“I have tried to see it as an accident. Unexplainable things happen and unfortunately on this occasion we were on the receiving end.

“What has happened has taught me that you can’t always plan, you have to live each day as it comes and enjoy the moment.”

Since Ian’s death, and inspired by his memory, Gemma has launched her own business, combining her twin passions of jewellery and history.

She said: “I wanted to take something positive from something so negative and I know Ian would appreciate what I am doing. He would say ‘Go for it’.

“My initial plan was to run the business in my spare time but as a primary school teacher you don’t have a lot of that.

“Last May I decided it would be viable to leave teaching and set up the business.”

Gemma spent part of last year studying at the London College of Fashion and combined those skills with her history background to drive forward Gemma Redmond Vintage. She uses the skills she learned on her history degree course to research the history of each piece she buys at antique fairs and auctions.

She said: “I have always wanted to be my own boss, even as a little girl. I used to set up a stall on my mum and dad’s drive selling feathers.

“I always thought Ian would know what to do in a crisis and would stay calm and that’s what I have tried to do. I have made an effort to take a leaf out of his book.”

April’s edition of Lancashire Life is out now.