A BRIDEGROOM with terminal cancer said ‘I do’ in a £20,000 dream wedding thanks to the generosity of Burnley people.
Tammy Dale and Tom Cooper got married yesterday, in a lavish ceremony at Burnley’s Towneley Hall – just four weeks after launching an appeal for help in the Lancashire Telegraph.
The couple were forced to step up their plans to get hitched after being told dad-of-two Tom had an uncommon form of throat cancer.
Because of the rarity of his illness doctors have told Tom that they do not know how long he has left to live.
Previous wedding plans had to be abandoned by the couple because of money worries, until their friends, family and the local community gathered round and helped them achieve their dream day.
Full-time carer Tammy, 23, arrived at Towneley Hall in a horse and carriage accompanied by her dad Aaron Dale.
Dressed in a beautiful strapless white wedding dress embroidered with diamonds, the former nail technician walked down the aisle in Towneley’s Regent Room to Shania Twain’s ‘You’re Still The One’.
Preceded by two bridesmaids dressed in beige and four flower girls including the couple’s two young daughters 19-month-old Ziani and Tienna, four, dressed in cream, Tammy looked every bit the blushing bride.
Former maintenance worker Tom was dressed in grey tails and a peach-coloured tie and he was visibly moved as he saw Tammy for the first time.
Around 100 guests watched the couple exchange vows.
Family friend Lorraine read the poem ‘On Your Wedding Day’ before guests witnessed the couple sign the register.
As the pair, who hope their wedding will become a ‘legacy of love’ for their daughters, left the hall they individually thanked each of their guests for coming.
As the wedding party gathered outside, Tammy and Tom released a pair of doves.
Tammy said: “Today has been better than I ever could have imagined. It really is everything I’ve dreamed of.”
Tom added: “It feels great to be married.”
After having pictures taken in the hall grounds, the couple travelled to a reception at The Oaks Hotel, Reedley.
Close friend and wedding organiser Wesley Hall said: “I am really pleased we have managed to pull off such a special day in just four weeks.
“Tammy and Tom really deserve their day and thanks to the generosity of the local community and businesses we have been able to make this happen for them.
“We managed to get everything for the wedding apart from drinks donated.
“I think it would have cost more than £20,000 as everyone really has pulled out all the stops.”
Best man Daniel Alderson added: “The day has already been everything they wanted and much more. Tom was fairly calm before the wedding.”
Family and friends decided to help organise the wedding and raise the cash needed so the couple could concentrate on enjoying their last weeks together.
Tom was diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in October and, despite the couple already being engaged, he presented Tammy with a ring on Valentine’s Day.
Tammy quit her job to be Tom’s full-time carer after he was forced to give up his job as a maintenance worker for Accent Housing.
Last summer Tom started to suffer from a sore neck which he thought was to do with his glands.
During the earlier doctors appointments Tom was told it was an infection and given antibiotics, but when the symptoms didn’t ease he was referred to a consultant who carried out a biopsy.
Immediately after the biopsy the consultant told the pair he was almost certain there were white cancerous cells.
More test results confirmed the couple’s worst fears that Tom was in the advanced stages of terminal cancer and that he had had the disease for at least two years.
Medics said his condition was so rare they were unsure how to treat him.
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