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A Special Wedding Day on Lowton Ward

Newsdate: 4 May 2016Craig and Sharons Wedding

A wedding is always a wonderfully special occasion, despite where it is held. Staff on Lowton Ward recently pulled out all the stops to make sure a loving couple’s wedding went ahead, on their planned day, despite the groom having to stay in hospital for care.

Sharon (nee Gunning), whose partner was receiving palliative care on the ward, revealed to a nurse how they were due to get married in Leigh that same morning. Sharon was anxious that the groom, Craig Walmsley, would not be well enough to travel to Leigh town Hall for the ceremony, and that they would have to take the heart-breaking decision to cancel the wedding.

Knowing that Craig’s fragile condition wouldn’t allow for him to travel, the ward staff, Palliative Care Team and Catering Team got to work. In a matter of a few of hours, they had managed to organise for the registrar to conduct the ceremony in the hospital chapel, re-directed wedding guests and arranged for photographs to be taken of the big occasion.

While Craig and Sharon said their vows in front of their close family and friends, staff on the ward began the arrangements for the reception. After a quick whip round, they purchased and decorated the groom’s side ward with banners and balloons and awaited the arrival of the canapés, sandwiches and drinks supplied by the Catering Team. A bottle of Champaign, which had been bought by Dr Stephen Gulliford as a wedding present, was also on ice ready for the happy couple’s return.

Lynne Norburn, Lowton Ward Manager commented about how the wedding was planned, “The team on Lowton and I are so very proud that we helped to make it possible for Craig and Sharon to say “I do” on the day they planned to get married. None of us had ever organised a wedding in hospital before, we weren’t even sure if it was possible! But within a couple of hours we had spoken to everyone we needed to, we all pulled together and the ceremony was held. It was so lovely to be part of their special day. It also proved to us that anything is possible when we all work together.”

Four days later Craig was discharged to the local hospice, for further palliative care. Very sadly, Craig passed away just seven days after fulfilling his wish of marrying his loving partner Sharon.

Pauline Law, Director of Nursing commented, ‘I am incredibly proud of the way the staff of Lowton Ward, the Palliative Care Team and the Catering Team all went well above and beyond for Craig and Sharon. I would like to take this opportunity to pass on our sincere condolences to Sharon and the family and friends at this very sad time. I am so pleased and thankful to everyone who made it possible for Craig and Sharon to have the wedding day they wished for. I understand that photos of the newlyweds were framed and presented to them on their wedding day. I hope that Sharon will find some peace and comfort in these, during this difficult time.”

The wedding was an especially memorable day for the bride and groom’s daughters, who stood as bridesmaids. The groom’s daughter, Helena and the bride’s daughter, Lisa, both expressed how proud they felt to be part of such a beautiful day. Watching their parents marrying filled them both with happiness, which they have been able to hold on to during their grief.