Terminally-ill Mick Richardson shares a precious moment with his new bride at their hospital wedding – just days before losing his battle with cancer.
Mr Richardson married partner Mandy on December 21, at only 24 hours notice.
He died on December 29, aged 52.
Mrs Richardson said the pair cherished their time together as husband and wife and paid tribute to staff at St James’s Hospital.
“It meant the world to us,” she said. “All he wanted to do was get married. It was very important we had that time.”
In March, 2010, Mr Richardson, from Otley, went to his doctor with a cough, but blood tests revealed he was suffering from leukaemia.
It was a huge shock – especially as Mrs Richardson’s father had died of the same illness seven years ago.
“I was devastated,” she said.
Mr Richardson began chemotherapy but became very ill and at the end of March his family were told he only had 24 hours to live. He pulled through, spending 11 weeks on a high dependency ward, but further treatment proved ineffective.
In December the couple were told the press operator did not have long to live.
Mrs Richardson, 46, said: “When they told us on December 16 that he was not going to survive, we kept thinking ‘well he has beaten the worst once’.”
The couple had talked about getting married and intended to wait until Mr Richardson recovered. However when they were told he had no more than three months to live, they decided to wed as soon as possible.
On December 20 Mrs Richardson went to see a registrar in Leeds and was told they could have the ceremony the following day at the Bexley Wing at St James’s.
She contacted staff on ward 88, who swung into action, arranging flowers and champagne.
“They rang Marks and Spencer, who donated all the food and the cake,” the senior care worker said.
“The staff did all the ward up and the day room. If it was not for them, we would’ve just got married by his bed. They made it special.”
Surrounded by family, the couple were married on December 21 in the day room.
Mr Richardson went home the day after the wedding and died there on December 29.
His wife, who has two grown-up daughters, wanted to publicly praise hospital staff for their efforts.
“I want to say a big thank you. They made our wishes come true,” she said.
“The staff were absolutely fantastic. They went the extra mile to make his wishes and our last week happy.”
Mr Richardson’s funeral will take place on Wednesday, January 11, at Rawdon Crematorium.