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A wedding dream comes true for Jess and Dave

A CHRISTMAS wish has become a reality for Sheffield couple Jess Richards and Dave Stewart thanks to the support of the St Luke’s team.

Dave proposed to Jess on Christmas Day, though the couple had no idea how they would make a wedding work in a pandemic.

Hospitality worker Jess, who is 31, is also battling against cancer and is now a patient at St Luke’s, where our team pulled out all the stops to ensure that a a ceremony could go ahead.

“Christmas is Jess’s favourite time of the year so this year her Christmas present was an engagement ring and I actually proposed on Christmas Day,” said 33-year-old Dave, who is a lecturer at Hillsborough College.

Jess had first become aware of a health issue when the couple were spending a year travelling in Australia and New Zealand in 2017.

But it was only when the couple arrived back home that Jess was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through a full programme of surgery and chemotherapy treatment.

“It seemed like she had beaten it but then in the first lockdown she began to experience what at first seemed like hay fever symptoms but when they didn’t go away, there were further tests and we were told that the cancer had spread,” said Dave.

“It was really when we got the diagnosis that the cancer had returned that we said let’s get married”.

And when we heard how much Jess and Dave wanted the wedding to go ahead,  we started the process that would make the dream a reality.

Our chaplaincy team had to apply to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Facility Office for a special licence for the ceremony to go ahead in our Garden Room.

Flowers for the big day were provided by city florist Valerie of Dore, balloons were donated by Above and Beyond Balloons and, at the bride’s request, ourcatering team created a special celebration cheese cake.

Then, with just Jess’s parents, Dave’s mum, his best man brother Jamie and Jess’s bridesmaid friend Heather Eggleton in attendance in line with current COVID-19 regulations, our assistant chaplain Mark Newitt conducted the ceremony.

“It’s something that Jess has always wanted and it has been the one ray of light since we received the diagnosis,” Dave said.

“It might not be the wedding we originally thought we would be having but we can’t thank everybody enough for making this day happen for us.”

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