A woman, who was able to marry her fiancé shortly before he passed away, has donated wedding decorations to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.
Nick and Jo Glover from Halsall, near Ormskirk, were married in the chapel at Wigan Infirmary on Sunday 28th April surrounded by family, a day after Nick was admitted to hospital.
After his condition worsened, Nick, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2018, decided to live life to the full.
But when the Macmillan Palliative Care Team who supported Nick throughout treatment, checked on him, a conversation was held with him and his family to suggest that their wedding, scheduled for June this year, should be held as soon as possible.
With the decision to hold the wedding that day, Sarah Simm, Macmillan Palliative Care Nurse, contacted Chaplain Caroline Tracey to start the planning, and her colleague, Palliative Care Specialist Nurse Janette Sanders, and fellow Chaplain Michele Ryan, enrolled help from staff across the Trust.
This included the catering team providing a buffet for guests and the portering team who helped Sarah and Janette escort Nick down to the chapel in his bed.
The efforts of staff were greatly appreciated by Jo who said; “All of the staff went above and beyond. With any difficulty that we came across in organising the wedding at such short notice there was always someone there to support us.”
Despite his condition, Nick was able to read his own vows and, following the ceremony, the couple were taken back to Lowton Ward where they were greeted by staff throwing confetti.
Sarah continued; “We place huge focus on individualising care for patients and their families. It is all about asking patients who are approaching the end of their life if they have any special wishes we can help to fulfil.
“For some, it could be something simple, but for others it can be something like a wedding which can mean so much. Organising the wedding meant that we could help to bring some happy memories to Jo and Nick’s final 24 hours together.”
Later that night Nick passed away aged 51 and Caroline met with the family to perform final prayers.
His funeral was held on 20th May where Caroline was asked to officiate and Janette and Sarah handed out Orders of Service.
Following Nick’s death Caroline kept in regular contact with Jo and it was during this time that Jo mentioned about making a donation to the Trust.
Caroline said; “We had decorated the chapel with what decorations we had for the wedding but afterwards Jo said she wanted to donate some decorations should someone else need to hold a wedding.”
The decorations Jo donated included electric candles, dream catchers, light up frames and are kept together in a storage box with a plaque reading; “Kindly donated with love from Nick & Jo Glover.”
On her decision to donate the decorations Jo said; “It felt right to bring the items in to show our appreciation for all that everybody had done. I just know that Nick would be made up with what we’ve done.
“Everything just came together on that particular day, Nick’s sister was in the area attending a party from her home down South, so she was able to come to the wedding, and his best man, Chris, was on his way home from a trip to Scotland and made it just in time.
“I’m just so thankful to everyone at the hospital who helped us and gave Nick his final wish.”
As well as the decorations over £1,500 has been donated to Macmillan in Nick’s memory.
Caroline said; “The Chaplaincy and Palliative Care Team are very grateful for the donation. We are overwhelmed with what Jo has given to us for any other couples who may get married whilst in hospital.”
While weddings are uncommon in the hospital it is just one of the services that the Chaplaincy is able to provide.
Michelle said; “Sometimes people think that the chaplaincy is only there for end of life blessings but we can provide so much more. We work together for whatever the patients need, regardless of religious belief.”
Reflecting on the wedding Sarah added; “It’s moments like this that make you feel so honoured to be part of our patients’ lives. It was lovely to see how staff across the Trust came together to make something magical happen.”