Wedding bells rang out on the Enhanced High Care Unit (EHCU) at Royal Preston Hospital last Thursday (October 5), after a patient was tested for suspected cancer following a fall at home.
The happy couple, Paul and Deirdre Holt, who have known each other for 36 years and been together for five, decided to tie the knot in hospital when Paul’s condition deteriorated after being admitted onto the ward.
Paul, who is 66 and lives in Warton, had complained of a bad back before suffering a fall and has since been tested for suspected cancer along with further issues affecting his kidneys, lungs and heart.
After getting permission from Trust Lead Chaplain, Reverand Martin McDonald, the couple quickly got the paperwork signed, and staff on the ward decorated the family room to make the occasion as special as possible for the couple.
Following the nuptials, Deirdre, 61, said: “It wasn’t looking good. The chaplain came to see Paul and said we could get married, which we had planned – although not like this!
“At first I just thought Paul was confused, but the Chaplain spoke to me and said he could plan it, but I’d have to get a letter from the doctor and go to the Registry Office to get paperwork signed.”
She added: “My friend Jan drove me as I was emotional, and we went to the Registry Office and got everything sorted. Jan also made my bouquet up in the car while she waited for me.”
When Deirdre returned, staff on the ward had prepared the family room, with a table, candle, some heart decorations, hot drinks and snacks.
Paul, whose condition has since improved, was able to move wards on Tuesday, and added: “The staff were fabulous, I couldn’t even put the ring on the right finger and look at me now!”
Roughly 40 weddings a year take place in the UK’s hospitals, and Amanda Jolly, EHCU Unit Manager, said: “I’ve worked here for 20 years and not seen a wedding on the ward, so it was nice for the staff to be part of someone’s special day, putting some decorations up in the family room. It lifted everyone’s spirits, it was nice to have a celebration on the ward, a joyous occasion.”
Lead Chaplain, Reverend Martin McDonald, added: “It was a real privilege to be able to marry Paul and Deirdre on the Enhanced High Care Ward.
“The ward staff really pulled out all the stops to make it a very special occasion, going above and beyond, showing care and compassion to both Paul and Deirdre.
“Hospital weddings, whilst rare, are always a joy and we wish Paul and Deirdre every blessing.”