Cosham’s Queen Alexandra Hospital granted a patient her final wish, with an emotional marriage ceremony in the emergency department.
Jill Smurthwaite sadly passed away the following day at the age of 62. She and her new husband Rob Capaldi had been together for 28 years and married for 26 hours.
The wedding was arranged in only five hours, after staff pulled together to contact Registrars and collect flowers, food, confetti and even Bucks Fizz.
Rob’s four daughters Ella, Lucie, Holly and Laura, to whom Jill was a ‘second mum’, acted as bridesmaids.
Jill, a civil servant, had been diagnosed with lung cancer in February, and fought the disease bravely.
Rob, 64, a sign writer, said: “The wedding did mean a lot to us and I will remember it forever, but it’s the little things that really made a difference.
“It was having special slippers provided by staff on a rainy day before Jill left hospital during a previous admission.
“It was a really thoughtful card and gifts from a member of staff, Sam, who said she had ‘taken a liking’ to me and Jill.
“It was Eliot, the consultant, giving me his mobile number after Jill passed away, and telling me to ring anytime.
“Dr Rebecca Mallinson was truly wonderful, the special attention she gave to us meant a great deal to us both.
“From top to bottom the care was exceptional and I haven’t got a bad word to say about anyone at the hospital. I really do want to say thank you to everyone, I can’t put into words what a difference their kindness has made.”
Eliot Wilkinson, consultant in emergency medicine and associate clinical director, paid tribute to Jill’s courage and to the compassion of the staff who made the wedding possible.