A TERMINALLY ill bride has thanked local businesses and good Samaritans who helped to organise her wedding in just 24 hours.
Cheryl Ashton has been with her partner, Tony Harrison, for 18 years and felt the time was right to finally tie the knot in an intimate ceremony at Barnsley Hospice.
She reached out to hospice staff for help organising the day and, with support from local businesses, was able to make it down the aisle to become Mrs Harrison.
“When I used to think of the hospice, I imagined somewhere that people just went to die,” said Cheryl, who has terminal cancer.
“Although I had previously been to have treatments at the day therapy unit, the thought of coming to stay in the hospice had me feeling terrified.
“Within days of being there, I realised I couldn’t have been more wrong - the staff have helped me begin to accept my situation and I felt more alive than I have done in a long time.
“I have waited 18 years to become Mrs Harrison, and when I asked if Tony and I could get married at the hospice, I couldn’t believe how quickly they managed to sort things out.
“Within 24 hours, dozens of local businesses had come forward and offered to help with our special day.”
With the help of local wedding planner Vikki Hines Sagar, Cheryl was able to try on wedding dresses and chose a ballgown style which she paired with a bouquet of purple, white and pink flowers.
She now wants to thank the people who helped to make her wedding day a reality.
“I am Barnsley born and bred, and I am just in awe of our community.
“I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for helping to make our wedding day a reality.
“We are so humbled at the generosity of people, and the effort they have gone to in making sure we have everything we need for the day.
“I tried on some beautiful wedding dresses and found a wedding band to match my engagement ring perfectly, and it has been great to choose things that feel like ‘me’.”
Cheryl and Tony were married in a service at the hospice witnessed by family and friends.
Barnsley Hospice chief executive Julie Ferry said: “Our aim is to provide compassionate care and improve the quality of life for people with a progressive life-limiting illness and we were very pleased to help Cheryl have her special day in the hospice.
“We would also like to add our thanks to Vikki at Sparkle and Shine and the generous Barnsley businesses who enabled us to make Cheryl and Tony’s wedding day a reality.”