Couple get married on hospital ward after bride suddenly falls ill

Vivien and Fred’s wedding (Picture: Blackpool Gazette/SWNS)

Vivien Stokes and Fred Hartley have been together for 29 years and were planning to get married in June.

But when Vivien suddenly fell ill with pneumonia, they decided to bring their big day forward and tie the knot on the hospital ward.

Staff of the Blackpool Victoria Hospital made an appeal on Facebook and Twitter for help in arranging the big day for Vivien, 56, and Fred, 73, who both have cerebral palsy.

The couple, from Fleetwood, Lancs, had offers of flowers, cakes, decorations, live music and even a selection of five wedding dresses for Vivien to choose from.

Vivien walked ‘down the aisle’ in Ward 24 on Wednesday to a guard of honour to the tune of ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ surrounded by friends, staff and fellow patients.

Joanne Connear, Vivien’s niece, said: ‘The response was absolutely amazing.

The guard of honour (Picture: Blackpool Gazette/SWNS)

‘We were inundated with offers of support and we are so overwhelmed by the generosity of people.

‘We can’t thank people or the staff at the hospital enough. They have all been absolutely wonderful and have helped make their day special.’

Vivien had wanted to get married for years but Fred had always resisted but last summer they were on a Mediterranean cruise together and Fred proposed.

Friends and staff gathered for the wedding day (Picture: Blackpool Gazette/SWNS)

Joanne added: ‘Of course she said yes and the date in summer was set.

‘It has been so great to see everyone come together to make their day a special one.’

The couple were welcomed into Ward 24 by smiling guests who’d all pulled together to make sure the newlyweds had the perfect day.

The couple exchanging rings (Picture: Blackpool Gazette/SWNS)

The ceremony was conducted by Blackpool registration manager Dawn Titherington and senior registration officer Marila Hargreaves.

Claire Kelly, ward clerk on Ward 24, said: ‘A few of us put out social media messages in various forms and staff shared those messages and the response was phenomenal.

Vivien and Fred on their wedding day (Picture: Blackpool Gazette/SWNS)

‘We were amazed by the support and the kind messages we received. It was lovely.

‘Staff decorated the ward and the room where the ceremony was held and the hospital put on some food and refreshments and it was great to see everyone come together.’

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