Bride with a week to live ties the knot as wedding organised in 48 hours

A terminally-ill bride has tied the knot with her long-term partner after the community rallied round to organise a wedding in 48 hours.

Ann Ruddock, aged 56, was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer last month and told she had between four and six months to live.

She and her fiancé, Keith Pearce, who have been engaged for 10 years, decided to finally get married and started to discuss the idea with the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

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But last week, Ann was told her prognosis had changed and she had just one to two weeks left.

Staff at the Dougie Mac, together with Emma Wisely at Leek Weddings – which helps terminally-ill people get married – pulled out all the stops to ensure Ann and Keith got their wedding day.

An appeal on social media led to an outpouring of support from well-wishers and local suppliers, who ensured all the wedding essentials – including the dress, flowers, hair and makeup, catering, drinks and the cake – were covered.

The wedding was organised in record time by the Dougie Mac

Last night, Ann and Keith’s family and friends gathered at their Blurton home to watch them say, ‘I do’.

Keith, aged 55, said: “It’s been so overwhelming. We just want to say a huge thank you to everyone for their kindness. We can’t believe that people who don’t even know us would do so much for us.

“It’s amazing, I’m so happy that we’ve been able to get married.”

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The couple first met in the 1980s when they were both married to other people. Ann moved away and Keith did not see her for more than 20 years.

After learning she was divorced, he looked her up and the couple got together around 12 years ago. They each have four children and, between them, have 24 grandchildren.

Ann with her children before the ceremony

Ann was diagnosed with cancer after going to her doctor suffering from headaches. Keith said: “She had a scan and that’s when they told us. We were stunned really. At first we just couldn’t register it.

“We’ve been engaged for 10 years but we just never got around to doing it, we were just getting on with life.

“We started to discuss getting married with the Dougie Mac but then Ann went for an appointment at the hospital and they told us her prognosis had changed. It hit us like a ton of bricks.

“I can’t believe everyone has managed to get the wedding together so quickly. The Dougie Mac has been amazing.”

Ann Ruddock and Keith Pearce pictured when they got engaged in 2011

Ann and Keith pictured when they got engaged

Jackie Murray, from Fenton, who is a social worker at the Dougie Mac, helped organise the wedding.

She said: “When I found out about Ann’s unexpectedly short prognosis and their wish to get married, I was determined to do all I could to help them.

“The hospice would like to thank everyone who has offered their help, we really have been blown away by the generosity and kindness of our local community. It’s been such a privilege to be able to be part of such a special and intimate time for such a lovely couple.

The couple have been engaged for 10 years.

“Working at the hospice has allowed me to respond to the individual needs of patients and their families and offer hands on support.

“Keith and Ann are so warm and I feel so honoured that they have invited me into their home to share their special day with them.”

One of the kind-hearted suppliers to help put on the wedding was Jason Grant, who runs Shelton-based GG’s Kitchen with wife Claire. The 49-year-old said: “When we heard about the wedding we wanted to do something to help, so we put together a buffet for them.

“We wish Ann and Keith all the best for their special day.”

Many local suppliers donated goods to make it happen

Suppliers who have contributed to the wedding include:

GG’s Kitchen

The Cabin, Werrington (drinks)

Wright’s Pies

Bekis Banging Bombs (desserts)

Sue Hughes (flowers)

Sleek Cars

Leek Post Office (balloons)

Just Add Chalk (sign)

Sam Mellor (hair)

India Hill (make-up)

Em Scott (nails)

Danny Callear (photographer)

Leek Weddings

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