Pre-wedding blessing lets twins share a special day

Mark Edwards with his twin sister Lisa who is being cared for at St Catherine's Hospice
Mark Edwards with his twin sister Lisa who is being cared for at St Catherine's Hospice
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A pre-wedding blessing was arranged so that a seriously ill woman could play a part in her twin’s special day.

Mum-of-three Lisa Gilkes, who lives in Abbey Village, Chorley, has cancer and has been cared for at St Catherine’s Hospice since January.

Most importantly they have made the practical things so much easier - which has allowed us all to spend time properly with Lisa, to just be here with her and enjoy that.

Mark Edwards

But as Lisa’s condition deteriorated, her twin brother Mark Edwards and his wife-to-be Sian Howell decided to cancel a wedding organised to take place in Chorley and held a celebration of their commitment to each other at the Lostock Hall care centre.

Mark, who lives in Cardiff with Sian said: “The original plan had been for the official ceremony to take place at Chorley Registry Office followed by a blessing in the chapel and a bit of a party in the garden room at the hospice.

“But as Lisa’s condition deteriorated, St Catherine’s suggested organising a relationship blessing which we all thought was a lovely idea.”

Mark, 36, said it was just one of the ways the hospice had been there for Lisa, their Mum, Lisa’s husband Ben and the rest of the family over the past few months.

He said: “The staff have been absolutely amazing - so supportive and friendly.

“Most importantly they have made the practical things so much easier - which has allowed us all to spend time properly with Lisa, to just be here with her and enjoy that.

“She has been so well looked after by everyone. Helping us to organise the blessing was just another way they showed how much they care.”

Mark added: “Cheryl Scott and Sister Bernadette Baxter from the hospice were fantastic in getting things organised in a very short period of time - they knew how important it was to Lisa and the rest of the family.”

Staff from the spiritual care team set about making the necessary arrangements for the blessing which was carried out by St Catherine’s trustee Rev Peter Taylor in Lisa’s room at the hospice.

Mark said: “It was such a special day and it means everything that Lisa could be there to see it, and be part of it.

“She chose the poem ‘The Tapestry’ that was read by Rev Peter, who also gave a lovely blessing. Lisa talked about it a lot afterwards - it was a very important occasion for her.”