PROUD Tara Kerry cuddled her fiance Kevin Sotheran and hailed the man who stuck by her through the “pain, the tears and the worry”.
The 36-year-old wants to win the Mail’s Bride of the Year competition, run in conjunction with Robert Usher Photography, to show her love for 38-year-old Kevin who she described as a “brilliant dad, best friend and soulmate”.
She praised Kevin for helping her through the worry of her daughter Scarlett having to have operations for congenital hip displasia, feet that needed straightening and a knee that needed reconstructing.
“I could see that the road ahead would be long, tiring and upsetting and thought he’d go his own way,” said Tara, from Saltaire Terrace, in Greatham.
“But he didn’t. He has been there by her bedside through each operation, and through all the pain and tears and worry. He held her hand and supported us all through it.”
As well as Tara’s daughters Scarlett, six, and Jasmine, nine, from a previous relationship, the couple – who began dating five years ago – now have their son Benjamin who will be two years-old next month.
Tara said: “Unfortunately our little boy was born with congenital hip displasia as well and so the operations began again. We got through it again and Benjamin is now toddling around with the girls at his side.
“Scarlett had her knee reconstructed in September last year and is doing great and Jasmine is a lovely big sister to both of them.”
Even the proposal of marriage did not run smoothly for the couple, said Tara.
Kevin, a town taxi driver, popped the question last Christmas but Tara explained: “Benjamin had been poorly and looked dreadful. His breathing was fast and raspy and he just cried and cried.
“We abandoned the presents and Kev drove him to hospital.”
The little boy was eventually diagnosed as having a virus which had resulted from an infection.
Tara said: “When we got home Kev said ‘there was a present you have not opened yet’. I saw the box and I knew he was about to propose.
“The day had not gone as planned and so his proposal hadn’t, but with no words planned, he said some lovely things from the heart and I accepted his proposal with a massive smile.”
As well as being a mum to three children, Tara is also a school dinner lady and classroom assistant as well as studying at college.
She added: “Things have not been easy for us and we have our fair share of bad times and ups and downs and arguments, who doesn’t?
“Kev stayed with me and my girls through thick and thin. He is a brilliant dad to all the children and is my best friend as well as my soulmate. I would love to stand by his side as his wife. That is why I would love to win this dream wedding.”