Published on: Monday 21 Mar 2016 at 10:27
‘St Clare made it possible for Dad to be at my wedding’
St Clare Hospice’s Midnight Walk, our biggest event of 2016, will be hitting the streets of Harlow on the evening of Saturday, July 2. This year’s neon-themed event will ‘light up the night’ for St Clare and we will be stepping out in memory of our loved ones while raising vital funds for the Hospice.
At the start line for this year’s event, officially launching the walk, will be three people who have been very close to the St Clare family over the past year. Sue Barclay and her daughters, Emma and Sophie , will be walking in memory of their beloved husband and father, Steve, who passed away at St Clare hospice on New Year’s Day 2016.
For most girls, the dream of their father walking them down the aisle on their wedding day is a long-held one. But for Sophie it was something she had never really thought about until the day her father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Sophie and her fiancé Grant Betts had been engaged for 3 years before Steve first became unwell, but as soon as they heard the news they booked their wedding for October 2016. However, Steve’s condition suddenly deteriorated in October 2015 and Sophie, unable to imagine getting married without her dad by her side, brought the wedding forward – setting a date just six weeks away.
When Steve was admitted to St Clare a week before the big day there was only one thing on his mind – “I’m going to my daughter’s wedding” – he told everyone who asked. And the staff at St Clare made sure his dream would become a reality.
A specially designed wheelchair was arranged to enable Steve to be at Sophie’s side as she walked down the aisle. Zoe Almond, a nursing assistant on the Inpatient Unit at St Clare, volunteered to accompany Steve to the wedding on her day off.
A member of the Hospice at Home team even blow-dried Sue’s hair on the day of the wedding to make sure the mother of the bride looked beautiful.
For Sophie it was all worth it to see her dad arrive on the morning of the wedding: “Zoe turned up with dad and as soon as I saw him there I thought ‘my day is already perfect’ just because he was there. I just couldn’t imagine him not being there.”
Sophie and Grant Barclay-Betts were married at Gaynes Park in Epping on Monday November 23, 2015 with close friends and family. As Sue and Steve walked Sophie down the aisle, “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
Sophie said: “Without St Clare we wouldn’t have been able to do this, they made it possible for dad to be at my wedding. We can’t thank them enough.”
If you are taking part in the Midnight Walk and would like to share your experience of St Clare Hospice, please get in touch with their Communications Team on 01279 773752