Worthing Hospital staff pulled out all the stops to ensure a loving couple’s wedding went ahead on their planned day, despite the bride having to stay in hospital for care.
Joann Howells, 46 from East Preston, who was receiving cancer treatment revealed to a nurse how disappointed she was to have to cancel her wedding planned for last Friday (June 21st).
Her partner Neil Ward, 45, admitted they were on the cusp of cancelling it when Assistant Chaplain Rev. Linda Rowlinson paid them a visit.
Neil said: “She just bent over backwards and never stopped running around to make it happen.”
Joann agreed: “It was so special,just overwhelming with everybody helping to make our day come together.”
After an emergency licence had been granted, Joann and Neil were married in the hospital chapel – the first time it had hosted such a ceremony.
Surrounded by friends and family, they then enjoyed a reception in the Day Room off Brooklands Ward.
Both venues had been especially decorated for the occasion by materials donated by the business community after Sister Samantha Jackson and Ward Manager Caroline Taylor made an appeal on local radio station Splash FM.
Numerous businesses answered the call, and using the flowers, decorations, food and drink that came pouring in, nurses working through their lunch breaks and the hospital’s Facilities and Estates team transformed each location.
Chefs at Worthing Hospital’s Shoreline Restaurant baked a wedding cake and supplied canapés and sandwiches for the reception.
Rev. Rowlinson said : “It was a very special day,especially because the bride is so poorly, and knowing the great challenge they are facing in their marriage.”
The theme of Reverend’s address was ‘Love is kind’, and she told the couple they were surrounded by kindness, and that many small acts of kindness had made their day happen.
Neil said: “We cannot thank people enough to be honest. You don’t realise how kind people are until something like this happens. It is really, really amazing.”
The chapel floor was strewn with rose petals, all the wedding party received bouquets and buttonhole flowers, the bride had her nails done by a local beautician, and complimentary champagne and food flowed freely at the reception.
The groom said: “It made it that extra bit special. It’s a special day getting married but thinking we weren’t going to get married due to Joann being in hospital and then all of a sudden it coming together just made it that bit extra special.”
Joanne said: “I wanted to go home so I could get married, and I was just thinking I was stuck in hospital, and then they just did it all for us. A massive thank you to everybody who contributed to make our day so special.”
The bride’s 23-year-old daughter Jessica Kelleway added: “They could not have put a bigger smile on her face.”
Businesses in Worthing which answered the hospital’s appeal included ASDA, Blossoms, Bo-K Florist, Broadwater Flowers, Findon Flowers, Ian Hart Funeral Directors, La Belle, Parklife Food and Cupcakery, Stella’s Florist, and Worthing Party Shop.
After eight days in hospital Joanne went home yesterday (Thursday June 26th).
Pictured: Joann Howells and Neil Ward married at Worthing Hospital in front of friends and family.