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Nurses organise surprise wedding for end-of-life care patient


Nursing staff who helped organise a surprise wedding ceremony for a patient undergoing end-of-life care have described how proud they are to be able to “touch patients’ lives”.

Sister Debbie Raffle, and colleagues at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), decorated and transformed a hospital dining room to create a wedding ceremony venue for their patient, Helen.

“Our staff pulled out all the stops to make this a really special occasion” 

Debbie Raffle

Newly-wed Helen has been a patient on Loxley Ward at City Hospital since the beginning of the month and is currently receiving end-of-life care. She has been with her husband Rob for three years and they were planning to get married in May.

The couple’s surprise wedding, which was held on 12 April, marks the first to be held on the ward.

Ms Raffle, who put together the ceremony, said: “It was an absolutely lovely day for everyone involved.

“Our staff pulled out all the stops to make this a really special occasion and it is a fantastic celebration of life,” she added.

On the morning of the ceremony, staff spent time gathering “whatever they could” to transform the day room and patient’s dining room into a surprise wedding venue, Ms Raffle explained.

The team also put together a small buffet for the visiting relatives and Tesco in Carlton donated decorations, cups and cutlery for the celebration.

One member of staff  had a friend who owns a wedding dress shop who visited the night before to take the bride’s measurements and worked through the night to ensure the dress was ready in time.

“I am very proud of the team who went the extra mile to ensure Helen and her husband Rob had a lovely day”

Sharon Dickinson

Ms Raffle described the day as “truly magical” and as a memory that will “stay in [her] heart for a long time”.

“Days like this are a reminder of what a privileged position we are in and how proud we are to be able to touch patients’ lives,” she said.

More than 30 relatives attended the wedding ceremony, changing plans last minute to be there.

The bride, Helen, said: “It was a truly wonderful day. I can’t believe how beautiful the room was and many of my family and friends made it to the ceremony at such short notice, some even travelled from London.”

Sharon Dickinson, head of midwifery at NUH, said: “It was a really inspirational and lovely ceremony for the patient, relatives and staff on the ward.

“I am very proud of the team who went the extra mile to ensure Helen and her husband Rob had a lovely day,” she added.

helen and rob wedding 2

Helen and Rob

Helen and Rob


Readers' comments (2)

  • Now this is what I call Caring. More please, it,s marvellous what Nurses in all walks of live can do with a little help and imagination.

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  • Well done, that really describes what nurses are, that holistic care, wonderful, keep it up. What a rewarding job to be in, always going extra miles. I salute all the nurses you deserve more recognition and more money and respect even though you don't get paid well but you have committed yourself to humanity. Great job.

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