Cancer-stricken dad marries his soulmate after 38 years in unusual place
Written by Rother Radio News on 05/10/2020
Droves of people have found themselves working from home since the coronavirus pandemic struck but one Sheffield couple have even married at home – after getting special permission from the Church of England.
The highly unusual step which allowed Brian Elsey and wife Virginia to tie the knot at home was given the seal of approval via the Archbishop of Canterbury after original plans for a Gretna Green bash were derailed by the pandemic.
The couple have been together for 38 years and Brian had wanted to surprise Virginia with a trip to Gretna Green, but that could not go ahead due to the health crisis and his own battle with cancer.
Brian is being assisted by St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield and their community team helped put his wedding plans back on track.
St Luke’s chaplain Mike Reeder, who had to obtain a special marriage licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Faculty Office before he could conduct the ceremony at the couple’s Hackenthorpe home.
“After being together for 38 years, getting married was one of those things we kept putting off and putting off,” said Virginia.
“I’d been married before and had three children when I met Brian, then we had two girls together and now we have eight grandsons and a granddaughter, so the wedding kept being put on the back burner.
“Brian wanted to surprise me with a trip to Gretna Green but when he became ill and the cancer started to get worse that couldn’t happen.
“He’s been battling cancer for six years and I’ve had breast cancer myself so we knew we really did want to get married now and thanks to everybody at St Luke’s, that has happened.”
The COVID-safe ceremony took place in the couple’s bedroom, with youngest daughters Elizabeth and Hannah as witnesses as Brian and Virginia exchanged their vows and Mike pronounced them husband and wife.
“It was a lovely day and very special for us,” said Virginia. “It might have taken us a long time – but we got there eventually.”