Even when tying the knot, dedicated nurse Chris Thomas showed he was also married to his job.
For when colleagues in the theatre department at the Royal Preston Hospital asked him what wedding gift he and partner Ian Greaves would like, kind-hearted Chris asked for a donation to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation instead.
“There was no romantic gesture, just a quiet recognition that we wished to spend our lives together.”Christopher Greaves-Thomas
Guests who then attended the couple’s nuptials at the Register Office in Bow Lane, Preston, followed by a reception at Lea Social Club, were also asked to make a donation to St Catherine’s Hospice and the Royal Preston’s Renal Unit, in lieu of gifts.
Now Chris and Ian, who live in Plungington, are saving up for a trip to China as a belated honeymoon.
Chris, who grew up in Higher Walton and Bamber Bridge, explains: “We had both had the misfortune of losing our grandfathers, Thomas Douglas Fletcher and Joseph Greaves, and as such we wanted to honour their memories and make them a part of our day.”
Chris and Ian, a catering manager who grew up in Ashton, met in January 2013 on a night out.
Chris says: “Ian and I don’t really have a romantic story to tell. Ours is a story more of support and love, and in some ways of practicality.
“It didn’t take long for us to become close, and within a few weeks we were spending increasing amounts of time with one another. With Ian I have never felt unwanted, I have always, even from those first few days, felt that I could trust and confide in him, and that I could be myself, free from judgement.
“At the time that we were dating my grandfather was becoming increasingly unwell. Ian, despite not having known me for very long, stuck by my side.
“He allowed me to shout, to cry, he gave me space when I needed to be left alone, and he was there waiting for me when I needed someone by my side.
“He was my rock, and he stood by me with selflessness and care.
“When my grandfather passed away he gave me the strength I needed to pick myself up and carry on.
“For that I will always be grateful. For that I will always love him.”
“Our engagement was a quiet affair,” he adds. “It took place one summer evening, we were sat in the garden, watching the evening roll in and discussing our future. It is here that our less romantic, more practical side took over.
“Having discussed career options, children, housing and so on, we came to the conclusion that we might as well get engaged with a view to becoming civil partners (as at the time same sex marriage was not legal).
“There was no romantic gesture, just a quiet recognition that we wished to spend our lives together.
“We were excited, don’t get me wrong, and Ian was perhaps a little nervous, but overall we felt contented and loved.”
Chris adds: “The wedding party was a small one.
“All in all Ian and I had a wonderful day, filled with laughter and merriment, love and compassion, friendship and family.
“It is a day we shall both treasure for the remainder of our married lives.”