Man proposes and gets married within 24 hours after being told partner is dying
A MAN proposed, planned a wedding and got married in the space of 24 hours after being told the love of his life was dying of cancer.
Mike Rowland proposed to his new wife, Lynda, at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, IN England last Thursday after they were given the prognosis.
The couple, both Pcs in the Metropolitan Police, married on a hospital ward the following day - in a ceremony inspired by the film Carry On Doctors.
Mr Rowland, 51, said: "It wasn't how I imagined our big day but it was important to show Lynda how much I loved her and to share something special together."
Mrs Rowland, 49, formerly Francis, said: "I feel so happy. This is not something I ever expected and it means so much.
"When Mike told me how quickly it was going to happen, I just said, 'Crikey'."
She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and thought she had recovered after undergoing chemotherapy.
In March this year she began suffering a cough which was initially treated as a virus.
It later emerged the cancer had spread to her lungs and that her condition was inoperable.
"The doctors have not told us how long she has to live," Mr Rowland said.
"But it is now a matter of preserving her life and making sure she makes the most of the time she has left."
Mr Rowland said he was watching Carry On Doctors, which features a hospital wedding, when he had the idea.
He said: "We have been together for nearly 10 years and have lived together for most of that.
"We have discussed marriage before but for one reason or another it never happened.
"Having this news has just focused our minds on what really matters to us.
"I proposed to Lynda and she asked how long it would take. I think she was a big shocked when I said, 'Tomorrow'."
The ceremony, attended by hospital staff and 12 close friends and family, took place in an empty ward which had been granted an emergency wedding licence.
Staff decorated the ward with balloons and banners and the bride wore a blouse and skirt which matched her bouquet.
Her condition means she had to sit in a wheelchair and rely on an oxygen feed throughout.
Afterwards she returned to her hospital room while family and friends gathered at the couple's Harlow home for a reception.
Mr Rowland, originally from Chester, said: "She has to stay in hospital for another week or so but then hopefully she will come home.
"Her condition means we won't get a honeymoon but it will just be special to spend some time alone together.
"We are so grateful to the staff at the hospital.
"This isn't how anybody imagines their wedding day but they bent over backwards to make it happen and did everything they could to help us."