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'Community spirit isn't dead' - Strangers help woman arrange wedding with terminally-ill partner

PUBLISHED: 14:01 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:09 18 March 2019

Melissa Hunt-Waugh and Mark Waugh, both 42 and living in Bradwell, married on February 23. Picture:Darren Burrage.

Melissa Hunt-Waugh and Mark Waugh, both 42 and living in Bradwell, married on February 23. Picture:Darren Burrage.

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A woman who married a terminally-ill man was “amazed” by offers of help from strangers with arranging the wedding.

Melissa Hunt-Waugh and Mark Waugh, both 42 and living in Bradwell, married on February 23. Picture:Darren Burrage.Melissa Hunt-Waugh and Mark Waugh, both 42 and living in Bradwell, married on February 23. Picture:Darren Burrage.

In January Melissa Hunt-Waugh posted on social media that her husband, Mark Waugh, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, wanted to get married before he passed away.

And after offers for help came in from DJs, florists and bar-owners, the couple, both 42 and living in Bradwell, got married on February 22 in the presence of 50 guests.

The wedding was held at the Avenue pub in Great Yarmouth, with a ceremony presided over by celebrant, Hazel Cresswell-King.

In a spiritual celebration that included handfasting and the song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, the bride and groom remembered family members who had passed away.

Melissa Hunt-Waugh and Mark Waugh, both 42 and living in Bradwell, married on February 23. Picture:Darren Burrage.Melissa Hunt-Waugh and Mark Waugh, both 42 and living in Bradwell, married on February 23. Picture:Darren Burrage.

“Part of the vows was that we are tied together for life and in spirit, so when Mark does pass, I won’t walk alone,” Mrs Hunt-Waugh said.

The reception followed, with a buffet of sandwiches, sausage rolls, chicken and salad.

“It was beautifully laid out,” Ms Hunt-Waugh said.

Her sister’s mother-in-law baked a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

Jo and Colin Oldham, who run the pub, had helped with the arranging.

Mrs Hunt-Waugh’s hair had been done by Carrie Amy Talbot.

The newlywed said: “The DJ was really helpful. Because we had the ceremony and reception in the same room, it wasn’t going to be possible for him to come in and set up. But he helped me with the playlist.”

One of the guests took the photos.

Of the preparations, Mrs Hunt-Waugh said: “Mark was getting very stressed by my ‘It will all work out attitude’.”

“It was amazing how strangers wanted to help you. You think you are quite alone when hit with something like this but there are people out there that just want to help where they can. It just shows that community spirit isn’t totally dead,” she said.

The couple met eight years ago on the dating website Plenty of Fish and had been talking about getting married since Christmas.

Mr Waugh is currently on pain relief and his wife said that they are taking life “one day at a time”.

“Yesterday I worked in the garden. Mark tried to help. It’s the simple things really,” she said.

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