We’re known for our specialist care and for personalising that care to each and every patient. So when it became apparent that Olivia’s mum, who was staying in our In-Patient Unit, wasn’t going to make it to Olivia’s wedding, we brought the wedding to her.
“When you get told that your mum is being admitted to a hospice, you can’t help but think sad and scary thoughts. But when my mum came through the doors at Willen, she said it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders, and we all felt like that coming here.
“Daniel and I had a quick engagement, about four months before the wedding, because we wanted to make sure Mum was as well as she could be. We were due to be married on 24 September, but it got to Wednesday 7 September, and the doctors and nurses at Willen told us that realistically, Mum only had days left.
“It was important to us to have my mum at our wedding, and important to us that our family had something fun to focus on, so that Thursday morning we came to speak to the Pastor at Willen Hospice. We asked him about bringing the wedding forward and to our surprise, he said ‘Actually, we’ve already thought about that. We heard your mum has been going on and on about how she’s so excited for your wedding, and we knew it was coming up, so we wanted to do what we could to facilitate that.’
“The Chaplain helped us sort out all of the formalities and liaised with our Vicar. He had to call the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office… It was almost like they’d pre-empted it and everything was already done for us – all we had to do was sign the paperwork.
“A couple of nurses then pulled us into a side room and said ‘What flowers do you want for the buttonholes for the men? What decorations would you like? What cake?’ It was so lovely of them to do that. It was above and beyond. We didn’t even realise they knew the wedding was happening, and they’d just taken it upon themselves to think of that and do it.
“On the Saturday, the day of the wedding, the nurses had decorated the conservatory and it was unrecognisable – it actually looked like a wedding venue. They’d put up bunting with our names on it, and set all the chairs up so there was an aisle. There was a lectern, and they’d even sorted a buffet for all of our guests. It also transpired that some of the nurses had come in on their days off to help get Mum ready, making sure that she was as pain-free as possible so she could enjoy the day.
“Everyone who came to the wedding said they’d never been to a wedding where there was that much love in the room. Everybody’s got those memories now, and we wouldn’t have them if it wasn’t for the Willen staff giving their time, and thinking to do it in the first place. I’m really honoured to have ‘Married at Willen Hospice’ on our marriage certificate.”