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A day to remember for Maureen and Steve

2023-04-19T09:30:42+01:00Tuesday 18 April 2023|
  • Maureen-vows

There were smiles and tears as terminally ill Maureen Goring married her long-time sweetheart Steve Clarke at Walsall Manor Hospital today.

Maureen, 57, who has lung cancer which has spread to the brain, tied the knot with partner Steve, 60, in a ceremony on Ward 29, brought forward by 11 days due to her diagnosis.

A Support Services Assistant on various wards including 4 and 20 A and B at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Maureen was diagnosed in November 2022 after tests showed she was at stage 4, which is terminal. The couple have been together almost 40 years.

The ceremony was arranged in five hours, thanks to the efforts of Sarah Griffin, Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Walsall Registry Office, and Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity, Well Wishers, which organised support from local businesses and supplied cake and sandwiches.

Dressed in a peach coloured dress bought by her eldest sister Ann-Marie Bellerson, 63, Maureen was wheeled from her bed on Ward 16 to the side room on Ward 29 by Sarah to the tune of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing”. Sarah was one of two witnesses at the ceremony, along with Maureen’s other sister Chris Clarke, 61. Maureen also has a brother, Alan Goring, 53.

Julie Moore and Kate Lloyd, both deputy registrars, performed the nuptials and Edd Stock, Chaplain at Walsall Healthcare, said a blessing before several dozen guests, mostly Maureen’s colleagues.

“It’s a great day,” said Maureen, who kissed Steve after they said their vows and exchanged rings. “It surprised me how quickly everything came together but it’s been fantastic. I feel contentment.”

Maureen’s popularity was shown by the 40-50 staff who formed a guard of honour down the corridor then showered the couple with confetti after the service.

Sindy Sandhu, Support Services Supervisor, said: “Maureen has always done an amazing job – her standards of cleaning are excellent and she leaves everywhere spotless. It’s been wonderful to share her wedding day.”

Steve said: “Whenever I bring Maureen in to hospital it’s like a visit from royalty. The way they put everything together for us to get married was unbelievable.”

Ann-Marie said: “It’s been heart-breaking but it’s a lovely thing to do – sad but happy. Ward 16 staff got her dressed and she looked special.”

Fiona’s florist of Walsall provided Maureen’s bouquet, while Morrisons of Willenhall provided a buttonhole for Steve, a security officer at Screwfix in Fradley, near Lichfield, and cake flowers.

Spar at Walsall Manor supplied snacks and Maureen’s colleagues in Support Services and Ward 4 clubbed together to buy a bow for her hair, a veil and another wedding cake.

The venue was even more poignant as Steve has undergone nine operations himself and recovered from sepsis, with Maureen nursing him back to full health.

Maureen was due to return to their Bloxwich home tomorrow.

Both Bloxwich born and bred, the couple met as 21 and 18-year-olds respectively as groups of friends who went out socialising together in the town, until one night when Maureen’s friend said to Steve “well, are you going to ask her out, or what?”

They finally decided to tie the knot more recently. Maureen had been due to start radiotherapy on 17 April but she was taken to hospital on Sunday and they decided to bring their plans forward.

“I always said I’d get married at 65 but we were chatting a few days after Maureen’s diagnosis and we decided to do it now,” said Steve.

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