Bride's 'special' hospital wedding

The wedding of Joann Howells and Neil Ward at Worthing Hospital (Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust/PA)

The wedding of Joann Howells and Neil Ward at Worthing Hospital (Western Sussex Hospital NHS Foundation Trust/PA)

First published in National News © by

A cancer-stricken bride married her sweetheart in hospital after fearing her big day would be cancelled because of her treatment.

Joann Howells, 46, had resigned herself to postponing her wedding to partner Neil Ward, 45, due to her undergoing lung cancer treatment.

But when she disclosed her disappointment to staff at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex, they set about ensuring her dream would still be fulfilled on their planned day.

An emergency licence was granted to enable them to wed in the hospital chapel, and an appeal on a local radio station led to flowers, decorations, food and drink being donated by businesses.

Hospital chefs baked the wedding cake and supplied canapes and sandwiches for the reception, which was held in a day room at the hospital.

And nurses and other staff worked through their lunch breaks to ensure the rooms were transformed, including scattering rose petals on the chapel floor.

Joann, from East Preston, said: "It was so special, just overwhelming, with everybody helping to make our day come together."

She added: "I wanted to go home so I could get married, and I was just thinking I was stuck in hospital, and then they just did it all for us."

The service was led by assistant chaplain, the Reverend Linda Rowlinson, whose theme for her address was "love is kind".

The Rev Rowlinson said: "It was a very special day, especially because the bride is so poorly, and knowing the great challenge they are facing in their marriage."

Mr Ward said: "We cannot thank people enough to be honest. You don't realise how kind people are until something like this happens. It is really, really amazing."

Joann went home last Thursday following eight days in hospital. Her daughter, Jessica Kelleway, 23, said: "They could not have put a bigger smile on her face."

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