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Hospital staff efforts ensure bride’s special day goes ahead

Staff at Worthing Hospital in Sussex “pulled out all the stops” to ensure a 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 21 June.

“You don’t realise how kind people are until something like this happens. It is really, really amazing”

Neil Ward

Her partner Neil Ward, 45, admitted they were on the cusp of cancelling the ceremony, before the hospital’s assistant chaplain Reverend Linda Rowlinson visited them and got things moving.

An emergency licence was granted and Ms Howells and Mr Ward were married in the hospital chapel – the first time it had hosted a wedding ceremony. A reception was then held in a ward day room.

Both venues were decorated with flowers and decorations donated by local businesses, after sister Samantha Jackson and ward manager Caroline Taylor made an appeal on radio station Splash FM.

Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said nurses worked through their lunch breaks, the facilities and estates team transformed each location, and chefs baked a wedding cake and supplied canapés and sandwiches.

Mr Ward 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.”

His new wife added: “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,” she said. “It was so special, just overwhelming with everybody helping to make our day come together.”

After eight days in hospital, she was able to go home on 26 June.

Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust

Joann Howells and Neil Ward married at Worthing Hospital in front of friends and family on 21June, 2014

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