A TERMINALLY ill woman preparing to marry her partner of 18 years in a fairytale castle wedding has vowed ‘nothing will stop us now’.
Emma Reed, 34, first met her future husband, Steven Oakey, in the Barley Mow pub, in Church Gresley, when she was 16, and the couple became engaged on her 18th birthday.
Miss Reed, from Woodville, was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, but after enduring two mastectomies, chemotherapy and the removal of her ovaries, she was told earlier this year the cancer had spread to her brain and liver and she had as little as 18 months to live.
A combination of financial constraints and her ongoing battle with cancer have prevented Miss Reed from wedding her 41-year-old partner, a stock controller, but the couple will finally tie the knot next month, thanks to the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation.
The charity was founded by Naomi Thomas, who has incurable cancer and was motivated by the assistance she received for her own wedding to enlist businesses and venues to help other terminally ill brides and grooms-to-be organise their big day.
The couple will marry at one of their favourite holiday haunts, Caerlaverock Castle, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, a venue Miss Reed said would have been impossible to arrange without the help of the charity.
She said: “When you have been together so long, you have so many memories and places you’ve been, that everywhere means something.
“So when you are thrown into our position, a register office or some church that doesn’t mean a thing to us just didn’t seem right.
“It had to be somewhere meaningful, and when we were trying to think of where to get married, we both simultaneously said ‘Caerlaverock Castle’, so that was that — decision made.
“Nothing will stop us now, not after getting this far. After 18 years, it’s our last chance. I will walk, be wheeled or even carried down that aisle.”
The couple will marry at the castle on December 8, followed by a meal with close family and friends and a larger gathering the following week at Conkers Discovery Centre, in Moira.
More information about the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation is available online at the website www.weddingwishingwell.org.uk or by calling 07875 030393.
The wedding has been organised with the help of Conkers and its event planner, Joy Tagg, Freya’s Fancies for the cakes, Sarah McCarron for make-up, Jon Paul formal hire for the suits, Carlo Laurenti for the disco and bagpipe player Bill Pepper.