This is the moment a bride was reduced to tears as she married her terminally ill partner of 12 years who was told he has just months left to live.
Alan Birch, 37, was told he had three to nine months after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of mouth cancer more than a year ago.
The father, from the Wirral, exchanged vows with Debbie McDonough in an emotional service in front of more than 150 people, including their seven children and a pair of Laurel and Hardy lookalikes, at Christ Church in Moreton, Dorset.
Alan Birch, 37, married his girlfriend of 12 years Debbie McDonough at Christ Church in Moreton, Dorset. The groom was told he had months to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of mouth cancer – and decided to wed his long-term partner
The loved-up couple were then taken to Leasowe Castle hotel where a 30-minute helicopter ride was laid on for them.
Their photographer John Hague was one of many people who offered their services for free.
He said: ‘It was a lovely day. Everyone was upbeat, although it was also sad as Alan was so weak.’
The pair exchanged vows in front of more than 150 people, before being taken to to Leasowe Castle hotel where a 30-minute helicopter ride was laid on for them. The new bride is determined to make Alan’s final months ‘as comfortable as possible’
Debbie smiles with her seven children. Her older children are pictured wearing dusty rose bridesmaids dresses, while her youngest wears ivory white with matching shoes and her son humorously stands in front
Alan’s condition meant 90 per cent of his tongue was removed and he had skin from his leg grafted to create a false one.
He worked as a plasterer and led a healthy lifestyle before his terminal diagnosis.
Speaking about the decision to get married, Debbie told the Mirror: ‘The kids were always asking us when we were going to get married, but the main reason is we don’t know how long Alan’s got.’
Debbie and Alan get a quick snap with a pair of Laurel and Hardy lookalikes who attended their special day. The bride is in awe of the wedding and admits it ‘hasn’t really sunk in yet’
The bride, who was reduced to tears, said their spectacular day ‘absolutely shocked’ her and ‘hasn’t really sunk in yet’.
Doctors believe her long-term partner has only three to nine months left to live and Debbie is determined to make these final months ‘as comfortable as possible’.
‘Usually the cancer he has is curable, but he got it in a very aggressive form. Every time they operated, it came back worse.’
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