A terminally ill mum from St Albans and her young fiancé celebrated their precious love when they said their wedding vows at a poignant ceremony organised in just 36 hours at The Hospice of St Francis.
Thirty-six-year-old Tasha Burton, from Ladies Grove, St Albans, was only admitted to the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit at 10am on Tuesday 27th November and at 1pm on Wednesday 28th November she and her fiancé Daniel Corley, 23, were living their wedding dream when they celebrated their marriage with family and friends.
Tasha had learned the devastating news that she had just two weeks to live last week after a scan revealed that bowel cancer, which was first diagnosed in October 2017 – just six months after her son was born - had spread to her lungs, liver and lymph nodes.
Immediately, her best friend of 23 years Kat Leyden, from Stevenage, who Tasha calls her sister, put out an urgent request on Facebook through the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation - a charity which organises and funds weddings for the terminally ill.
She appealed for everything from a photographer, videographer, buffet for 60, make-up artist, and wedding cake, to a wedding dress, suit for the groom, venue stylist and flowers.
Within minutes, they were inundated with offers from big-hearted businesses across Hertfordshire and beyond, providing everything the devoted couple needed for their special day.
“I can’t believe the response we’ve had,” said Kat, 34, “without the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation, we would have been completely lost but the Hospice has put all the pieces of the jigsaw together.
“They’ve just been fantastic, from lending me a fundraising phone yesterday when my own phone battery died, to sorting, managing and coordinating all the offers of help that have come in. They even hid Tasha’s dress in the laundry room so that Dan wouldn’t see it.
“Anything that can be done to make their day special, the Hospice has supported and aided. The Hospice’s mantra is all about helping people to live their precious lives well and this is that ethos in action. The excitement from the nurses to the chaplain to the volunteers and cleaners has been palpable. We’ve really felt you’ve wanted to make this day as special as we do.”
To James Arthur’s ‘Say You Won’t Let Go,’ Tasha walked up the ‘aisle’ of a marquee that fortuitously had just been set up for another Hospice event, to be given away by her father David and her and Daniel’s 19-month-old son Alaric in a poignant service led by Hospice Chaplain Ray Ashley-Brown.
After walking out to John Legend’s ‘All of Me, to the surprise of their guests, the couple released a pair of white homing doves to signify love, togetherness, luck and hope and their new beginning as husband and wife.
Tasha said afterwards: “It was just lovely, absolutely amazing. I was just so taken aback by it all. Peoples’ generosity was absolutely stunning and getting it all organised in 36 hours was just incredible. I was so happy.
“Dan and I have known each other since May 2015 when we met at work, we got together in July on my birthday and six months later we were engaged. We knew it was love. Getting married is something we’ve always wanted to do so today really is the fulfilment of a dream and we can’t thank everyone enough.”
Added an emotional Dan: “It’s been the most amazing day - I don’t think I’ve ever seen Tash look so beautiful.”
The Berkhamsted-based Hospice, which relies on voluntary donations to fund its free care for 2,000 people every year affected by life-limiting illness, would like to extend its thanks to so many generous local businesses who contributed in so many ways to Tasha and Dan’s wedding, including:
- Naomi and everyone at The Wedding Wishing Well Foundation
- Dee at Seren Events, Grovehill, Hemel
- Ayeesha Walsh at Image Street Photography, Watford
- Catherine at Flowers by Catherine, Hatfield
- Zoe at Agnes and Mo for the balloons
- Denise at Tapestry Cakes and Wenzels the Bakers, both in Watford
- Sunny at Ryait Digital, videographer, Heathrow
- Emma at Abbots Fine Foods Ltd, Watford
- Katie at Katie Bishop Make Up, Stevenage
- Kay at Kay Cooper Nail Artists, Borehamwood
- Greg from Angel Wings Dove Release, Stevenage
- Melodie at I Theme It Uk
- Ann at Ann Bridal, Stevenage