A couple who had to abandon their dream wedding plans to marry abroad after the groom was diagnosed with terminal cancer have tied the knot at a last minute ceremony, thanks to the kind donations of strangers.
Tracy Brooks, 45, and Ray Kershaw, 63, had hoped to wed in Tenerife next year but were forced to change their plans when Ray was diagnosed with terminal cancer in March.
Mr Kershaw, who has intestinal cancer, has just days left to live and is currently being cared for at Springhill Hospice in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
But thanks to the generosity of strangers and the charity Gift of a Wedding, the couple, who both live in Shawclough, Rochdale, tied the knot on Saturday in a wedding that was arranged in less than 24 hours.
Wedding organisers put out a call for donations for a ceremony originally scheduled to go ahead on June 2.
But as Mr Kershaw’s condition started to deteriorate, the wedding was brought forward to Saturday, giving the families and Gift of a Wedding less than 24 hours to organise their big day.
Within hours of publishing the appeal, strangers and businesses had offered to pay for wedding cars, flowers, venue dressing, a cake and everything else required for the event.
Mr Kershaw and his new wife tied the knot at a moving ceremony attended by close relatives, friends and nursing staff at the hospice on Saturday afternoon.
Bridesmaid and relative Melissa King said the couple had been overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.
She said: ‘All Ray and Tracy knew the cancer was terminal so all they wanted was to get married.
‘What Gift of a Wedding did was incredible. They were up all hours the night before the wedding to make sure it happened.
‘I know Tracy and Ray can’t thank everyone enough for making it happen. We can’t believe how much people donated at such short notice.’
Gift of a Wedding, posting on Facebook, said: ‘We truly cannot thank each and every one of you enough who shared and commented on our post and most of all to the amazing suppliers who have come together at such short notice – you’re all brilliant.