Wedding bells for cancer patient who married his love of 19 years in hospital

Hospital staff pulled out all the stops to give an engaged couple their special day and arrange for them to marry in hospital.

Pip Page-Davies, Macmillan specialist nurse, with patient Phil Bryers and Shirley Bryers, formerly Astbury, during their wedding reception
Pip Page-Davies, Macmillan specialist nurse, with patient Phil Bryers and Shirley Bryers, formerly Astbury, during their wedding reception

Mid Wales cancer patient Phil Bryers and partner Shirley Astbury know that every day is precious.

The couple have been together for almost two decades but have had to face the difficult truth that Phil’s illness means their time together is running short.

Determined to make the most of every minute, they opted to get married at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, where Phil is an inpatient.

The couple had a wedding planned for later this month at their church in Newtown, but with Phil being in hospital, it had been postponed.

But after 19 years together, the couple decided there was no time like the present.

Phil and Shirley Bryers on their wedding day

The couple were married by Reverend Canon Nia Morris from All Saints Church in Newtown, with support from Rev Simon Airey, hospital chaplain, in a special ceremony that took place at the Oswestry hospital.

Phil, 66 from Newtown, was diagnosed with kidney cancer back in 2004, however in 2016 he received a diagnosis that the cancer had spread to his bones.

He was recently admitted to hospital where he was then placed on a palliative care pathway.

Phil said: “We can't thank all the staff enough for making this happen for us both. Being able to get married was important to both of us and it was a superb day.”

Shirley’s grandson Callan took the role of best man, with grandson Josh walking her down the aisle, and daughter Maddie providing a reading at the ceremony. The wedding was also live streamed to America, so Shirley’s daughter could be a part of the big day.

Pip Page-Davies, Macmillan specialist nurse, said: “It was a privilege to have been able to help such a special couple get married. It wasn’t only a significant day for Phil and Shirley, but also the hospital."

All the stops were pulled out to make the day as special as possible for the couple, including the catering team providing a buffet for the reception, and the League of Friends and Hobo Florist donating flowers.

Stacey Keegan, RJAH chief executive, said: “As a hospital, we pride ourselves on providing true holistic care to our patients. When Phil and Shirley explained how important it was for them to get married, we knew we had to go above and beyond to make it happen.

“On behalf of RJAH, I would like to offer our congratulations to the newlyweds.”

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