A terminally-ill cancer patient and her family were given “a memory of a lifetime” as a hospital stepped up to provide a heartwarming wedding at short notice.
“Congratulations replaced goodbye” after Maggie Batt-Rawden’s condition suddenly deteriorated.
She and husband Mark tied the knot at the Royal Surrey County Hospital’s Albury Ward, less than 24 hours after bringing their big day forward.
Mrs Batt-Rawden was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and then later lung cancer, reports Get Surrey.
The mother of three was rushed into hospital last Tuesday (November 17) after becoming delirious, running a high temperature and generally being unresponsive.
The decision to get married was then quickly brought forward after doctors suggested she was “unlikely to survive the weekend”.
Mr Batt-Rawden said: “I thought she might like to get married in the hospital. I popped the question to Maggie who said she would love to marry me.”
And so it was last Friday evening (November 20) that the 54-year-old started to make enquiries about the possibility of getting married, with the registrar booked within hours and the special ceremony scheduled for 1pm the next day.
On the Saturday morning, Mr Batt-Rawden met Monty Steedman, the charge nurse on the ward and wedding photographer, and asked if they could use a neighbouring room for guests.
The property developer said: “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.
“I was on the phone ringing everyone I could think of saying ‘Can you get to a wedding in two hours?’.
“Suddenly the guest list went from 10 to 50 people.
“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.”
Staff at the Egerton Road hospital organised fairy lights in the room, as well as balloons, a cake, bunting and flowers.
A 60ft-long extension lead was also in place for Mrs Batt-Rawden’s high flow oxygen machine, to ensure she could make her way to the makeshift chapel.
She was led up the ‘aisle’ in her hospital bed by her children, James, 24, Tim, 20, and 18-year-old Lizzie.
“It was a real day of smiles and it was the most beautiful wedding day,” Mr Batt-Rawden said.
“Maggie and I were overwhelmed by the hospital team.
“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 celebrated with their friends and family up until 10pm, including Mr Batt-Rawden’s children, 27-year-old Samantha and Andrew, 25.
However, it was the morning after the night before when the “best wedding present” was delivered.
“We woke up early, just in time to see the sun rise over Guildford Cathedral,” Mr Batt-Rawden said.
“The doctors came in later and said Maggie was not quite as bad as they thought – she has got about three or four weeks [left to live].
“That might not sound like a long time but compared to the matter of days she was given before, that was really the best wedding present.”
Mrs Batt-Rawden was expected to be discharged from hospital some time this week to return home.
Speaking about the wedding celebrations, she 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.”
The newlyweds from Burpham met three years ago at a social group and got engaged last year.
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