A FATHER and his daughter have had their wish of walking down the aisle together turned into reality thanks to the combined efforts of Havens Hospices and a Westcliff-based wedding shop.
Richard Bailey, 70, from Canvey Island, was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal oesophageal cancer last year.
After his daughter Emma, 35, got engaged to her fiancé Chris, there were two defining ‘picture perfect’ moments she was looking forward to: when her father would see her in her dress for the first time, and then him walking her down the aisle.
Following Richard’s diagnosis, they soon realised that day wouldn’t come, so they planned to visit a bridal shop so he could still be a part of the wedding and help choose his daughter’s dress.
Unfortunately, Richard’s condition deteriorated, and he was admitted to Fair Havens, whose nurses suggested that they instead bring the bridal shop to the Fair Havens?
Emma’s best friend and bridesmaid, Grace contacted Chantilly Lace in Westcliff, whose owners Clorese and sister Hayley brought four ivory dresses to the hospice.
Speaking of the moment his daughter came into the room, Richard says: “Because of Fair Havens, I’ve been able to be a part of the wedding that was most important to Emma and me.
“We came together for that moment. Although it’s not the real thing, it is to us. We’ve done it together. Her brother, Simon, will now take over that responsibility when the big day finally arrives.”
On the day, Richard felt well enough to get out of bed, hold Emma’s arm and walk up and down the hospice’s corridor like it was an aisle, with the Care Team lining the corridor to see the special moment.
Emma said: “We had the most magical day. Everyone went to so much effort, it made me feel like I was actually getting married.
“This moment, which will last a lifetime, wouldn’t have happened without the donations that people make to the charity. We’re extremely grateful for what they’re doing for families like ours.”
Fair Havens provides palliative and supportive care to adults in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford diagnosed with complex or incurable conditions.
The care it provides is completely free of charge and can only continue to make dreams come true thanks to the generosity of kind donations.
Find out more about the care Fair Havens can offer or donate by visiting havenshospices.org.uk.
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