NURSES turned wedding planners to grant a dying man’s wish.

Staff on Southend Hospital’s Bedwell ward, which cares for cancer patients, stepped in to help arrange a marriage ceremony within an hour for the couple, who did not want to be identified.

Ward manager Andrea Turner and the nursing team wanted to make the event as memorable as possible for the patient and his wife-to-be, both in their late forties and from Rochford.

With help from the hospital restaurant, they created a wedding breakfast and a wedding cake.

They also made decorations from very limited resources.

Petra Rosier, oncology matron who nominated the staff for a Hospital Heroes’ award, said: “Sadly, the patient died two days later.

But his wife wrote to Andrea and the team to tell them what a huge difference they had made and to thank them for their efforts.

“We only get one opportunity to support patients and their families when they are dying and we want to get it right. We are constantly looking at ways to make this experience as positive as possible by supporting the physical, psychological and social needs of patients and their families.”

The ward is now creating a “wedding box’’, which will include items such as decorations and flowers, so staff are prepared for future shortnotice weddings.

To acknowledge their efforts, the nursing team received their heroes’ certificate in January.

The team has also bought activity sets for children of patients when they visit the oncology wards.

The sets were funded by donations. Echo Tuesday February 4, 2014 15