Couple remarry after 23 years apart as cancer sufferer nears end of life

Dave and Maggie Hargreaves remarry in a service at Colchester Hospital's chapel

Dave and Maggie Hargreaves remarry in a service at Colchester Hospital's chapel - Credit: Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity

A couple have remarried after 23 years apart in a moving ceremony - so they could be together as a cancer sufferer nears the end of her life.

Maggie Hargreaves, of Colchester, was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer last year and is currently receiving end of life care.

Her ex-husband, retired firefighter Dave Hargreaves, came to stay with the 73-year-old in November to help look after her, staying ever since.

As a result, they decided to say their vows for a second time at Colchester Hospital chapel so they could spend the final days of Maggie's life together.

The couple remarried after Maggie's terminal cancer diagnosis

The couple remarried after Maggie's terminal cancer diagnosis - Credit: Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity

Within a matter of days, the chaplaincy team had put all the necessary preparations in place so the couple could re-marry.


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After the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office approved the special licence required for the wedding to proceed, Rev’d Celia Cook - chaplain from the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - had the privilege of conducting the intimate service.

The event was witnessed by Allison Cline-Dean and Keith Ponsford, also from the hospital’s chaplaincy team.

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Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity said it was delighted to help by contributing £487 for the marriage licence.

The Rev Cook said after the service on Thursday, January 21: “It was an absolute honour to marry Maggie and Dave.

"Their love and affection for each other shone through and it’s a service I will never forget.”

Maggie had herself worked at Colchester Hospital for 15 years as a critical care nurse. She was part of the team that helped relocate the service from the former Essex County Hospital to the main site, where it is located today.

Dave, who has also worked for the ambulance service, added: “We can’t thank you enough for making this happen. It’s truly remarkable.

"The chaplaincy team thought of everything. We even had prosecco and cake in the Time Garden!”

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