Hospital wedding reunites couple after 23 years apart

"The chaplaincy team thought of everything."

The chapel at Colchester Hospital held a very poignant wedding ceremony last week.

Maggie Hargraves (73) who lives in Colchester was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer last year and is currently receiving end of life care. Her ex-husband Dave Hargraves came to stay in November to help look after her and has stayed ever since.

Their desire to say their vows for a second time was explained to lead chaplain for the hospital, Allison Cline-Dean who was supporting Maggie before an operation. Within a matter of days the chaplaincy team had put all the necessary preparations in place so the couple could re-marry.

After the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office approved the special licence required for the wedding to proceed, Trust Chaplain, Rev’d Celia Cook, had the privilege of conducting the intimate service along with witnesses, Allison Cline-Dean and Keith Ponsford, also from the hospital’s chaplaincy team.

Trust Chaplain, Rev’d Celia Cook said: “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.”

What makes this wedding even more touching is Maggie’s connection with Colchester Hospital. She worked there for 15 years as a critical care nurse and 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 has also provided an exemplary service to our local community. He is a retired firefighter and has worked for the ambulance service.

Dave said: “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!”

Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity was delighted to help too by contributing £487 for the marriage licence. The wedding took place on Thursday 21 January 2021.

26 January 2021