A COUPLE from Astley renewed their wedding vows at Wigan and Leigh Hospice on Monday (May 20th).
Derek Hall, 48, and Joanne Hall, 47, renewed their vows at the Oak Centre day service surrounded by friends they have made since they began attending the centre over a year ago.
Derek, who has an inoperable brain tumour, attends the Oak Centre every Monday to socialise, for exercise and physiotherapy to improve his wellbeing. Joanne accompanies him every week.
On Monday at 12noon Joanne walked down the aisle in the original chocolate brown gown she first wore when they married almost 12 years ago in July 2007. She was accompanied by Derek’s dad, also called Derek, while Derek was accompanied by his mum, Sheila.
Jo said: “It’s been the most amazing day of my life. It felt so special and this time around I feel can actually enjoy and savour the day.
“I can’t even find the words to describe how I’m feeling. I’m so grateful to everyone who has contributed to today. I can’t say thank you enough for the work everyone has put in.
“It has meant everything having it here. It’s like a home from home – we drive into the car park and it’s like a big hug.”
Derek said: “Last night I was nervous, I watched a film last night to chill out and then when I woke up this morning I was even more nervous!
“I’m feeling relieved and happy now the ceremony is over – it was better than our first wedding. It’s better because we are reaffirming our vows and there’s been such a happy buzz around – it’s been brilliant.
“I felt so lucky when I came in and saw the room and the decorations – it’s amazing what everyone has done. We are just two people but everyone has come together to make this happen, it’s like one big happy family.”
After the service
After the service the couple and guests sat down to a wedding breakfast of sandwiches prepared by the hospice’s kitchen and a cake bought and decorated by an Oak Centre friend.
Bunting, wedding favours and other decorations were crafted and stitched together by more Oak Centre friends while local businesses loaned blossom trees and wedding thrones for the day.
Watching the couple get married were Derek’s mother and father – Sheila and Derek – some of Joanne’s friends from Moorepay in Swinton as well as friends, volunteers and staff from the Oak Centre.
It was February 2016 when Derek was diagnosed with a tumour on his brain stem. The couple felt they were left on their own to cope and were struggling until they discovered the Oak Centre.
Joanne said: “We went from being given some shocking news and being in limbo – we didn’t know what to do – we had no support but the Oak Centre has given us the support we need.
“Everyone at the Oak Centre is like our family and the centre is like a second home.”
Jacqui White, Manager of the Oak Centre, said: “It was lovely seeing a couple on their special day and how many people came together to make it perfect for them. The kindness and generosity shown – even by people they don’t know – it has all been quite overwhelming. They look so happy and we are absolutely thrilled for them.”
Following the wedding the couple stayed at the Greyhound House which donated an evening in the bridal suite.
Diane Reid donated Joanne’s bouquet; AM Flowers Professional Flowers loaned blossom trees; Easy Events loaned wedding thrones and Viv Fletcher from St Wilfrid’s School too photographs of the big day.
The Oak Centre is a wellbeing day service open to people with life-limiting illnesses and their carers. It offers a range of therapies, classes and workshops to help people achieve individual goals and make the most out of life.
Drop-in sessions when anybody can pop in to find out more about the service are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10.30am to 12noon and on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm.
Call 01942 5255366 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.