A couple who were told they only have weeks together have tied the knot – just days after they were given the devastating news.
Christine Hirst married long-term partner Steve at their South Shore home on Wednesday after she was told her cancer had spread.
The pair, both 54, had been due to wed in July but medics feared Christine may not live that long, prompting friends and family to rally around and help them bring their big day forward.
Christine, who was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma – a type of skin cancer – in October 2016, said: “I’ve never felt this happy in my life.
“I pray every night, ‘Please God, don’t take me yet’. I’m not ready to go yet.”
But after suffering two seizures last week, an MRI scan revealed three tumours on Christine’s brain, and she was given the heartbreaking news that she would likely pass away by July this year – the month she was due to walk down the aisle.
Christine, who worked as a carer for 21 years, added: “Steve is my rock. He’s my dream man and I love him so much. He’s my everything.”
Steve, also 54, said: “Christine is a beautiful, honest girl. She cares about everyone.”
The couple were taken by horse-drawn carriage to Ashton Gardens in St Annes to pose for a romantic photoshoot before being treated to a celebratory meal at the Chadwick Hotel thanks to wedding organisers Karent Santi, 35, Toni Travis, 34, and Jeanette Hyde, 57.
They are now looking forward to jetting off to sunny Benidorm for their honeymoon, where Christine hopes to fulfil her lifelong dream of swimming with dolphins.
Christine said: “We’ve got a celebration on Saturday at Crazy Scot’s Bar on Rigby Road.
“We’ve got the whole place to ourselves, I’m having a red and gold wedding cake made, all my friends are helping me with the cooking and I’ll be wearing my wedding dress again.”
Steve and Christine met four years ago when she boldly approached Steve in the street and asked for his phone number.
Steve said: “She asked if she could come and see me and I said ‘Yes, any time’.
“I thought, ‘What a strange girl!’”
Christine said: “I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him. I couldn’t help it.
“It’s hard knowing we’re only going to be together a short time.
“I’ve got to say goodbye to people I love very, very much and I don’t want to do that.
“I’m only 54 years old. I don’t want to die. Steve has been so supportive.”
Christine was adamant her illness would not stop her having the wedding she dreamed of – and her determination does not stop there.
Despite her diagnosis, mum-of-two Christine added that she hopes to live to see the birth of her fourth grandchild, due to be born in December.
She said: “I’ve got a little granddaughter on the way. I will try my hardest to stay until she is born.”
Her friend Karen, who helped organise the wedding, said: “It was very short notice. We penny pinched and did everything we could with what we had.
“They are a fantastic couple and so full of love for everybody around them.
“We don’t know how long Christine has left and she just wanted to get married, and we’ve made it happen.”