A little time has passed since this story and indeed this extraordinary day happened one Saturday morning. Yesterday I begrudgingly sat down, downed a strong coffee (for this is what I need to even contemplate blogging) and made a start on updating 9 weddings from the other half of my work existence. Wedding Photography.
The question of whether to add my own few lines to this story (and it really is quite a profoundly magical story) I guess was made when I dusted up my 'About Me' page and removed the line 'absolutely no formal qualifications'.
'Absolutely no formal qualifications' was the first half of an honest answer to the question of 'What makes an amazing picture?'. The part which remains powerfully succinct in truth, is the answer 'the gift of seeing every bit of life day-in, day-out.'
Seeing Life, experiencing what Love is, seeing and believing in Hope, if not always by myself but in others around me, is a truly powerful thing to experience. A gift as such.
This wedding was breathtakingly remarkable for the gifts it gave people that day.
When we as Nurses, Care Assistants and Doctors, Porters, Physio's, Occupational Therapists and Cleaners, Chaplains, Estates Technicians and Receptionists, succeed in believing such things, then almost anything is possible and these gifts help us to be who we are.
(Official Press Release)
Royal Surrey gives patient dream wedding
Royal Surrey County Hospital has helped a cancer patient’s ‘dream wedding’ come true.
Maggie and Mark Batt-Rawden said ‘I do’ on Albury Ward less than 24 hours after deciding to bring their big day forward.
The couple from Guildford, Surrey, made the decision after learning that mother-of-three Maggie, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, was seriously ill.
“Maggie and I were overwhelmed by the hospital team,” said Mark, a 54-year-old property developer.
“They made the impossible happen and created a dream wedding given the most hopeless circumstances – they even bought balloons and a cake.
“The wedding will be a memory of a lifetime, not only for us but everyone who attended.”
The couple, who met three years earlier at a social group, got engaged last year.
At around 7pm on Friday, November 20, Mark started to make inquiries about the possibility of getting married.
“After we had been told Friday evening that Maggie was unlikely to survive the weekend, I thought she might like to get married in the hospital the very next day.”
By 9.30pm that evening plans were in full swing, with the registrar booked and the ceremony set to take place at 1pm the following day.
The next morning Mark met Monty Steedman, the charge nurse on Albury Ward, and asked if they could use a neighboring room for guests.
“Monty said ‘I think we might be able to do a little better than that, give me a couple of minutes.’”
“He returned beaming and said that he would be able to clear an area for us to use as a wedding chapel.
“With just two-and-a-half hours to go we were phoning people and inviting them to the wedding. Suddenly the guest list went from 10 to 50 people.”
Hospital staff quickly started organising bunting, flowers, and fairy lights to decorate the room, as well as organising a cake. They then assisted members of the couple’s family with transforming the bay.
Monty, as well as a charge nurse works as a wedding photographer, and offered his services voluntarily to capture the day.
The Trust’s estate services provided a special 60ft long extension lead for Maggie’s high flow oxygen machine to allow her to be make her way into the make-shift chapel.
Maggie was brought up the aisle in her hospital bed, led by her children James, 24, Tim, 20, and Lizzie, 18.
“Maggie had absolutely no idea how many people were coming and had not seen any of the preparation in the room, the expression on her face was a picture. It was a true delight to see.
“There was so much love and laughter on the day.”
The newlyweds celebrated with their friends and family until 10pm, including Mark’s children Samantha, 27, and Andrew, 25.
“We had a lovely night sleep and woke up just before sunrise, which we enjoyed together.
“The strength Maggie has shown has led to doctors reassessing her prognosis and they now believe we will have at least a few weeks together.”
Maggie, 55, said: “The love and compassion showed by Monty and the Albury Ward Team and my family and friends allowed us to give everyone the opportunity to see me, perhaps for the last time, in a happy way where congratulations replaced goodbye.
Charge nurse Monty said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to help Mark and Maggie organize their wedding. Everyone from the doctors to the hospital cleaners were involved in helping create a day to remember.”
Louise Stead, director of nursing, said: “Our vision and aspiration is to deliver the best care anywhere and put the patient at the heart of everything we do.
“On this occasion the staff of Albury Ward went above and beyond and I am proud of every member of the team who ensured Maggie and Mark had a special day.”