THE heartbroken ex-fiance of midwife Samantha Eastwood remembered her last night during a poignant candle tribute, saying: “Love you forever and always Sammy."

John Peake, whose brother-in-law Michael Stirling is accused of killing the popular hospital worker, was among thousands lighting a candle to “unite in her memory.”

The steam railway enthusiast gathered with mourners at several locations in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, to mark the exact time, 7.20pm, she was reported missing two weeks ago after finishing a night shift.

While work colleagues, friends and supporters assembled at local key places, others remembered her at home.

Grief-stricken Gemma Eastwood, youngster sister of the much loved midwife, 28, had asked people to light a candle to help extinguish "the darkness of this tragedy” as she vowed: “The evil people who did this will not win.”

Care worker Gemma, 26, pleaded: “Let's all send her some love to lift her a little higher.

“You can light the candle anywhere in the world, whoever you are: midwives, doctors, maternity support workers, nursery nurses and especially the general public!

“The point is we all feel a togetherness, a united light against the darkness of this tragedy.”

Claudia Prada-Clegg, from the Royal Oldham Hospital maternity unit in Greater Manchester, echoing the sentiments of supporters posted on social media: “We unite with you and our colleagues all around the world in memory of Samantha.”

Mary Henry added: "Lit candles in our family home in Dungiven, Co. Derry, this evening. We’re strangers to you all.”

The candle gesture came as the midwife’s bereft family released a treasured photograph of her

graduating from university as she followed her childhood dream to bring new life into the world.

In a statement issued through Staffordshire Police they said: "From the age of 12 all Samantha wanted to be was a midwife.

“She had to work very hard to achieve her goal. Samantha may no longer be here but her memory and legacy will live on.”

Her body was found dumped in a shallow grave, wrapped inside a duvet cover with her eyes and face bound with masking tape, at a disused quarry in Caverswall eight miles from her home a week ago, eight days after she disappeared.

She had failed to turn up for a 7pm shift on Friday, July 27 and police say they were alerted 20 minutes later.

John, 34, and Gemma split up in January after seven years together and called off their wedding which had been due to take place two months ago in June.

A fundraising appeal for the midwife’s funeral has hit £12,216 of its new £15,000 target.

Fencing contractor Michael Stirling, 32, has been charged Samantha’s murder and remains in custody.

His father Stephen Stirling, 60, and an un-named 28-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender but have been released on conditional bail.