A FORMER Huddersfield woman lost both her legs in an horrific accident on the way to her wedding.
Dawn Auty, 42, was riding on a motorised tricycle to New Central Methodist Church in Blackpool, on Saturday, when her dress caught in the tricycle's machinery and she was dragged under the vehicle.
Doctors had to amputate her legs at the scene to save her life.
Ms Auty, who has terminal cancer, was today said to be conscious and talking at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, with her fiancé Stephen Flood by her bedside.
Friends in Huddersfield have told of their distress.
Mrs Mandy Hartley, licensee at The Marsh House in Marsh, said: "Dawn was a regular here up until seven months ago when she moved to Blackpool.
"She lived life to the full and what makes it worse is that we know her as Dancing Dawn. Every time we had a do on at the pub, she loved to kick off her shoes and get up and dance."
The accident took place at 12.45pm as friends and wedding guests were waiting in the church, just 200 yards away.
Eddie Furness, a retired engineer from Huddersfield, who described himself as Ms Auty's "adopted father" was following the tricycle by car and saw the accident happen.
He said: "I saw him stop and it looked like her dress was caught. But as I got close you could see her legs were trapped and pulled right in.
"She kept saying: `I'm still getting married, aren't I?' and I was saying: `Of course, love, I'm sure they'll put the wedding back 15 minutes for you' but it was obvious she was in a bad way."
Mr Furness said the former nurse and mother-of-two was known for "putting on a brave face".
"Dawn is awake and talking. She is already taking the nurses to task.
"She is putting on a brave face because that is what she always does.
"She knows her mind and once she has decided on something, that's it, there's no stopping her.
"It was the same with getting the trike. She is motorbike-mad. She doesn't own one but if there's ever a chance of getting a ride on one, she jumps at it.
"She was adamant that she was going to ride to church on her friend's trike and there was no stopping her.
"Maybe if it had been chucking it down with rain, like it was the hour before, she would have got a taxi. It was still a windy day but that wasn't going to stop her."
Ms Auty, who used to live at Grasscroft Road in Marsh, has been married before and has two children, Peter and Laura, who are in their late teens and early 20s.
Mr Furness said her life had been marred by tragedy in recent years.
"She lost her natural father two months ago and her mother about two years ago," he said.
"She used to work but had to give up because of the cancer, which they say is terminal. She won't have chemotherapy treatment for it because she has been a nurse and she knows what it does to people.
"She always says: `I'm not losing my hair for anything'.
"It has been a rough couple of years for her and she doesn't deserve this."
Ms Auty left Huddersfield earlier this year to start a new life in Blackpool.
And she was thrilled when shortly after moving to the resort, she met and fell in love with Mr Flood, a 36-year-old IT worker.
She told Mrs Hartley: "I've found a good man who wants to look after me".
Mrs Hartley said: "Everyone at the pub is very upset. Many people know Dawn and were really happy for her when she let us know about the wedding.
"She wanted a fresh start and had always wanted to live at the seaside.
"A friend who visited her in hospital said she was remaining very chirpy.
"He said she was trying to be cheerful while everyone else was in shock, but that's Dawn.
"She is one of those people who will try and get on with her lfie.
"A few of us hope to get over to Blackpool to see her later this week and we have started a collection in the pub for her."
Wedding guests were told about the accident by a bridesmaid who rushed down the aisle to break the news.
The chauffeur-driven trike is similar to that used by comedian Billy Connolly on his TV world tour.
It is believed she was leading a procession of wedding guests and bridesmaids when the accident happened.
Mr Flood, relatives and passers-by tried to help but her legs were caught in the machinery.
Firemen used hydraulic cutting gear to move some of the metal away and a team of surgeons from Blackpool Victoria Hospital amputated her legs.
She was conscious throughout the operation but suffering from deep shock.
Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Tony Robinson said the bike driver, dressed in rocker's gear, supported her all the time.
Mr Robinson said: "It was impossible for us to cut her free because her feet and legs were so badly entangled in the mechanism. We'd have risked a lot more damage. She had lost a lot of blood and her condition was deteriorating."
One paramedic added: "She was in shock but you had to be impressed by her bravery. She just let us do what we had to do."
Five paramedics were relieved from duties to recover from the trauma.