Terminally ill Wolverhampton builder marries sweetheart with help from hospital
A terminally ill builder has married his sweetheart in front of family friends during an emotional ceremony at their Wolverhampton home.
Phil Gigon, who has cancer of the lungs, kidney, liver and spine, married partner of 24 years Kay McKnight in a wedding organised by The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
The self-employed builder, 49, was admitted to New Cross Hospital on September 19 before being transferred to Ward C41 three days later. He received his diagnosis two weeks ago and he left hospital on Wednesday morning, getting married the same afternoon at home in Fordhouses.
Before he was discharged, Phil asked nurses if they could arrange the wedding, so Edd Stock, chaplain at the hospital trust, secured a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury which enables weddings to take place at short notice.
Meanwhile, carer Kay’s best friend of 25 years Shazia Russell, 41, from Fordhouses, arranged the rings, two wedding cakes and a dress were bought, a buffet was prepared and invites went out.
Bride Kay, 45, wore a cream knee-length dress when she entered the lounge to Wagner’s Bridal March.
There to greet her was Phil, in a smart navy suit and matching tie and white shirt, Edd and their assembled close family and friends.
Afterwards, Edd blessed the marriage, said a prayer for them both and everyone applauded before U2’s Beautiful Day played.
Phil said: "I never thought this would happen. We kept saying we’d get married but we just never did. I’m happy we’ve done it now."
Kay added: "Phil asked me to marry him nine years ago after we had our daughter Lia and I said ‘yes’ but we kept putting it off.
"We thought about running away to Gretna Green! Then we thought if we don’t do it now, we might not get the chance, so Phil asked the nurse if it could be organised and we arranged it all the day before.
"My friends rallied round while I was at the hospital, then they took it in turns to stay with him overnight. We’re just glad we got the chance to get married and our family and friends were here to share it."
Lia, 10, was bridesmaid and Phil’s lifelong friend Steven Russell, 42 – Shazia’s husband – and Lee Spilsbury, 41, from Ashmore Park, who Phil has known since he was 18, were best men.
Phil’s mum and dad, George and Pat, and Kay’s parents, James and Josie McKnight, also attended.
Kay’s younger sister Abbey Clark, 42, who works for the trust as a sister in the children’s nursing service at Green Park Special School in Bilston, and Hayley Webber, who works for Compton Hospice, also assisted with the arrangements and helped her get ready for her big day.
Following the ceremony, Phil and Kay, who met in 1998 at a party through a mutual friend at what is now their house, cut their cake and Steven made a speech before the couple were toasted.
Phil added: "It’s been an emotional day and I’m so glad I got to experience it."