Even a life-limiting illness and a suspected case of Covid-19 were not going to stop Roy Wilson marrying the woman he loves.
And that’s exactly what happened at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) this afternoon, as Roy and long-term partner, Jill Hird – now Mrs Wilson – tied the knot.
The couple were married by hospital chaplain, Rev Simon Airey in a special ceremony that was only able to go ahead thanks to special dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Earlier this month, Roy, aged 70, from Leegomery in Telford, suffered an accident at home when he broke his femur. He was taken to hospital and it was there where he was later diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.
Following his diagnosis, Roy decided there was no time like the present to marry his long-term partner, Jill – and after a conversation with the chaplain last week, the wheels for the couple’s marriage were in motion.
However, his hopes of marrying in hospital were put under threat as he started exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, but there was relief as a test returned a negative result on Friday evening. That meant it was all systems go for today, without having to worry that every participant would have to wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), although face masks were worn by all who were able to attend.
RJAH staff pulled out all the stops to make the day as special as possible for the couple, creating handmade decorations and sourcing food. M&S Food in Oswestry also kindly donated the wedding cake. Joanne Richards, a Healthcare Assistant on Sheldon Ward, was one of the couple’s witnesses.
While Nia Pritchard, RJAH Medical Photographer, who is also experienced wedding photography, provided stunning photo coverage of the occasion.
Prior to the occasion, Roy and Jill hadn’t seen each other since April 1 – when he was first admitted into hospital, due to the current restrictions on hospital visiting due to Coronavirus.
Roy said: “This has been a long time coming. It’s been a really special but emotional day. I’m absolutely exhausted but it’s been wonderful. We can’t thank the staff and chaplain enough for making this happen for us.”
His new wife, Jill said: “What a day. It’s been absolutely lovely from start to finish, it’s certainly been a day to remember for us both. A big thank you to the wonderful hospital staff for all that they’ve done for us.”
Rev Airey has only taken up the position of chaplain in recent weeks, and this was the first wedding ceremony he has performed at the Oswestry-based hospital.
And with all ‘regular’ weddings currently stopped due to the government-imposed lockdown, Rev Airey had to jump through a number of hoops to make the couple’s dream come true today, including getting permission from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rev Airey said: “What an occasion, what a special day for not just Roy and Jill but also the hospital. It’s been a quick turnaround to get it all sorted to ensure the wedding could legally go ahead but we got there.
“I don’t think any of us will ever forget today. It was a complete privilege and very uplifting, given the current circumstances. Thank you to Mr and Mrs Wilson for allowing us to be a part of their special day.”
Stacey Keegan, Acting Chief Executive of RJAH, said: “As a hospital, we pride ourselves on giving true holistic care. When Roy and his partner explained how important getting married was to them, we knew we had to pull out all the stops to make it happen.
“I have to pay particular tribute to Rev Airey, who has gone above and beyond to make this a reality, and to Julie Roberts, who has been leading our infection prevention and control work during the Coronavirus pandemic, but has somehow also found the time to support this as well.
“On behalf of everyone at RJAH, I would like to offer our congratulations to Roy and Jill and wish them every happiness.”
Pictured: The couple saying their vows, with hospital chaplain, Rev Simon Airey, and overseen by Joanne Richards, a Healthcare Assistant at the hospital.