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Dereham hospital saves Watton couple's special day

PUBLISHED: 14:00 21 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:17 16 September 2010

Brian and Fay Leggett renewing their vows at Dereham Hospital.

Brian and Fay Leggett renewing their vows at Dereham Hospital.

Victoria Leggett

It was something he had looked forward to for 12 months and had been planning for almost 50 years.

Yet as the day for Brian Leggett to renew his wedding vows with wife Fay for their golden wedding anniversary drew near, a fall at their Watton home seemed set to scupper the plans.

It was something he had looked forward to for 12 months and had been planning for almost 50 years.

Yet as the day for Brian Leggett to renew his wedding vows with wife Fay for their golden wedding anniversary drew near, a fall at their Watton home seemed set to scupper the plans.

But the dedication and care of staff at Dereham Hospital saved the day when they arranged for the ceremony to be moved from the local church to his rehabilitation ward.

The couple had always talked about renewing their vows ever since their low key wedding at Watton Register Office in 1960.

So, as their 50th anniversary drew near, they began preparing for the blessing at the Methodist church with 40 of their friends and family.

Daughter Sue Price said it gave her father, who was diagnosed with dementia three years ago, something to focus on. She said: "It's what kept him going. He's a very, very frail man."

But on the 27th June, Mr Leggett had a fall at home and broke his hip. He was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and two weeks later moved to the Foxley Unit at Dereham Hospital to recover.

The 78-year-old and his wife were forced to concede that he would not be back home by the time of the blessing and it would have to be called off.

Mrs Leggett, 69, said: "It was a huge disappointment. We had been saving hard and we had been planning it since last August."

Soon after the decision was made, the mother-of-six arrived at the hospital to visit her husband and was approached by a nurse who had been speaking to him the night before.

The nurse asked if she would like to have the service in the Foxley Unit and began arranging for the chaplain to come along on the day of the anniversary.

On August 2, 20 members of the Leggetts' family, including children, grandchildren and their two-and-a-half year old great-granddaughter Paige, arrived at the hospital.

Mrs Leggett said: "When I got their they had got Brian all suited and booted in stuff we had bought for the blessing. It was quite emotional."

At 2.30pm, the same time as their wedding 50 years before, the chaplain knelt beside the couple and took them through their vows. A cake was cut and the couple's grandson, 23-year-old Alan Price who is a professional photographer, took photographs for an album.

Mrs Leggett, who has lived in Watton all her life, said: "The staff couldn't have been better. They really made is a special day for us."

Last night, Andrew Pover, ward manager at Dereham Hospital, said he was pleased to hear the family had had such a happy day.

He added: "We try and meet our patients needs in every way, including their spiritual needs. We were happy to be able to help."

Mrs Price, who travelled from Wigan with husband Geoff and her two sons, said the family were now putting together a photo album from the day, something they never had from their wedding.

The 47-year-old added: "They were so thrilled they had got there. There are not many people who do make their golden wedding anniversary."


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