Couple of 40 years marry in hospital after groom told he has terminal cancer
An elderly couple together for 40 years have married each other at a ceremony organised by nurses, after the groom received a terminal cancer diagnosis.
Hospital staff at the Royal Derby Hospital organised the wedding in just three days, after 86-year-old Keith Turner's condition deteriorated.
Keith married 83 year old Rita Trickett, after having been together for four decades.
The groom was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital a week ago with mesothelioma, a form of cancer, and it became clear that he had a limited time left with his loved ones.
The ceremony took place in ward 310, and staff members visited after their shifts to pass on their well wishes to the newlyweds.
The couple, who live in Mackworth in Derbyshire, met in 1969 while both working for Red Cross.
Keith said: “When my wife passed away from cancer, Rita was there to look after me and we’ve been together ever since.
“However, the thought of getting married never was on our mind. I didn’t care too much about labels and we’re both quite independent people.
“It was only when I became more ill that I thought it was time to ask her to marry me, and she said yes.”
Keith's new wife Rita was also a patient at the hospital, recovering from a stroke. She has since been discharged and said she is feeling much better.
She said: “This is the longest time we’ve been apart for years, it’s been a horrible.”
Keith has asked to be taken off treatment once the wedding is complete.
Rita added: “It’s what he wants and I agree with him, he’s had enough and is tired.”
One of the staff members on the ward who helped create the special day was Sister Amanda Broad, she said: “Our ACP Louisa made a wedding cake and the team provided a bouquet of flowers for the bride.
“A pin hole flower was also made for the groom too as well as a buffet and decorations all provided by our staff.
“I was extremely privileged to be asked to be a witness and although it was my day off I was so happy to be there on their special day.
“It’s times like this when you realise how life can be so short and I have made one of their last wishes happen, which to me is an extreme privilege.”
Rita’s granddaughter Emma attended the ceremony to celebrate the special day with the happy couple.
Emma Burd, 35, said: “It’s been stressful. However, the ward staff have been amazing. Amanda is a star, both medically and personally.
"We’re eternally grateful.”