VIDEO: Sleaford couple hitched in civil partnership at hospice

Sleaford couple Tom MacDonald and Frazer Byworth proved love conquers all after joining in a civil partnership at St Barnabas Hospice.

Sixty-five-year-old Tom is an in-patient at the hospice based in Grantham Hospital, and is much-loved by all the staff, and of course by his partner Frazer, 30.

Frazer Byworth and Tom MacDonald.

Frazer Byworth and Tom MacDonald.

Travelling over from their Sleaford home which they share with their four cats, Frazer sees Tom at the hospice whenever he can.

However, when he made the visit on Tuesday he was greeted with a surprise, discovering that Tom and the nurses had come up with a plan to get the pair hitched on Friday.

“The girls sorted it all out for us. It was Tom’s idea and I only got told on Tuesday,” said Frazer. “I want to thank all of the nurses at St Barnabas. They have been great. Everyone here has been involved in organising today.”

Among those key to putting the big day together was sister in change of the unit, Cathie Alcock.

Frazer and Tom cut the cake together.

Frazer and Tom cut the cake together.

“They said they wanted to do it and so the whole unit has supported it,” said Cathie. “It’s our first event like this here. I think Tom is extremely nervous!”

Staff crowded into a small function room at the unit to see the ceremony take place. Family members were unable to attend due to living far away, but Frazer wore his late grandad’s tie and both men were smartly dressed in suits for the occasion.

As Tom is a fan of 60s music, the staff found a CD and fittingly Elvis’ hit ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ came on as the couple exchanged rings and signed the register.

The simple but heartfelt ceremony was followed by a blessing from hospital chaplain Jeremy Pemberton. They then cut a cake donated to them by the local Asda and decorated by Sheila’s Cakes in Grantham, before being toasted with champagne and showered in confetti and gifts.

A cake and presents were arranged by the community and staff for the couple.

A cake and presents were arranged by the community and staff for the couple.

There were many tears among the watching hospice nurses, as well as from those who for four months cared for Tom prior to his admission to the unit. Although Tom’s prognosis is poor, this was not dwelled upon at all on the day.

Afterwards Tom said: “Thank you to all the nurses. Without them it wouldn’t have happened. We kept trying to do it before but something would always come up.”

While a less traditional venue, the setting harks back to when Tom and Frazer first met in neighbouring 
hospital beds.

As Frazer explains: “We actually first met at EAU (Emergency Admissions Unit). He was in the bed next to me.

Among the staff who have cared for Tom and were at the ceremony, were healthcare support care worker Tina Schafer and staff nurse Amanda Rogers.

Among the staff who have cared for Tom and were at the ceremony, were healthcare support care worker Tina Schafer and staff nurse Amanda Rogers.

“Then we met again in The Grapes in Sleaford one night, and it went from there.”

Asked how he would describe his new husband, Frazer added: “He’s just fun to be around, and really caring.”