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Just two months ago Whitney Schofield walked down the aisle on the arm of her father Glyn on the happiest day of her life, her wedding to Nathan Berry.

On Tuesday, Whitney Berry walked sadly between an honour guard of Nathan’s fellow jockeys who came to pay tribute to a young man whose life was cut short by a rare and relentless illness.

Nathan Berry died last week from the epilepsy-related NORSE syndrome after collapsing on March 18 in Singapore where he had just begun to make his mark as an international rider.

The 23-year-old was farewelled at Rosehill racecourse by his family and 1500 others wearing his favourite colour blue.

Amid tears and laughter he was remembered as a boy who, along with his identical twin brother Tommy, grew up wanting nothing more than to be the successful jockeys they have become.

“Five years ago he swept me off my feet,” Whitney Berry said.

“Our wedding was the happiest day of my life. Every day was like a fairytale.

“Even when he was sick in hospital, he said ‘please don’t cry baby. Everything’s going to be OK’.

“He is the air that I breathe, the ground that I walk on.”

Tommy Berry spoke of the bond between him and his brother and closest friend.

“People always say we are the same age but Nathan was 40 minutes older and to me he was my older brother,” he said.

“I looked up to him so much. He was the first one to help me out, to always put a smile on my face.

“He was a loving husband, a perfect mate and a perfect son to Mum and Dad.

“It was a privilege being his brother. This has left a massive hole in my heart which will never be filled.”

The Schofield and Berry families are inextricably linked to racing and Tommy Berry, Glyn Schofield and his son Chad will all be riding in Group One races at Randwick on Saturday, each hoping to honour Nathan with a win.

A DVD played at the service showed a collage of youthful pictures and part of his wedding celebration, with his smiling face captured forever on film.

As the hearse left the racecourse to take Nathan to his final resting place, a sea of blue balloons filled the sky which had also remained blue in spite of the weather forecast.

His riding colleagues were then joined by a host of trainers, racehorse owners and the general public to reminisce about a short but well lived life.

 
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