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Southend hospice staff arrange couple's wedding in 24 hours

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image copyrightHavens Hospices
image captionFamily and carers celebrated the marriage of Chas and Shirley Hobbs at Fair Havens Hospice

A terminally ill patient has married his partner in a hospice after staff arranged their big day within 24 hours.

Chas Hobbs, 67, wanted to tie the knot with his partner of 13 years, Shirley Reason, 73, before his cirrhosis deteriorated further.

He was admitted to Fair Havens in Prittlewell, Southend, on 15 September and the couple married two days later.

Mrs Hobbs said staff went "beyond any expectation you could imagine" to plan a ceremony and wedding breakfast.

"It was only very recently that we decided to get married, but I knew I couldn't take on those arrangements myself," she said.

"You can tell the staff thoroughly enjoy working here and they've given up their own time to help us prepare for our wedding day.

"The team pampered me, styled my hair, decorated the private garden outside Chas's room and made a cake decorated with butterflies."

Spiritual care lead Martin Hill said: "When people realise this is the wish of someone approaching the end of their life, it's so important to get it right."

image copyrightHavens Hospices
image captionThe couple wanted to get married before Mr Hobbs's condition deteriorated further

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver caused by long-term damage, which prevents the organ from working properly.

Mr Hobbs had a major operation 18 months ago but his condition deteriorated while shielding at home during lockdown.

The couple began to struggle and found him a room at Fair Havens Hospice.

Healthcare assistant manager Julie Stott-Skold said: "We made a special wedding breakfast for Chas and Shirley, and then pampered the bride-to-be as we got Chas into his suit. We even created a makeshift garter from a catheter strap and a knitted heart."

"The time they have together is precious, so it was important to make their wedding day as special as possible. There wasn't a dry eye in the room."

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Related Topics

  • Terminal illness
  • Prittlewell
  • Shielding
  • Marriage