A BOUT of illness at the 11th hour nearly derailed the hurried wedding of Hayley Savory, who fast-tracked her special day in order to allow her terminally-ill father to walk her down the aisle.
Gary Savory, 53, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in September, and is being cared for at Prospect Hospice.
Mother-of-four Hayley, 29, realised she would have to bring the date of her wedding forward so Gary could walk her down the aisle and give her away to fiancee Will Tsang.
She then had four weeks to arrange the entire ceremony, but thanks to help from friends and well-wishers, everything took place without a hitch, at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Moredon Road.
There were last-minute concerns for the attendance of Gary however, who was struck down by illness in the early hours of yesterday morning, and required a doctor to see him at the hospice.
“It’s gone really well considering we had a really bad night with dad last night,” said Hayley. “He was really struggling and we had to call the doctor out.
“It definitely threw doubts on the whole thing. We just had to make sure he rested as much as possible.
“He stayed in bed until noon to recover as much strength as possible.”
Gary walked his daughter down the aisle, with a full church hall beaming with smiles as they made their way to the altar and Will, waiting for his bride-to-be.
“It was amazing really,” said Hayley, standing outside the church as a newly-wed.
“We have been so overwhelmed and so touched by everything people have said to us.
“It’s been pretty special with all the help. Saying thank you to people doesn’t feel enough.”
There are no plans for a honeymoon for the couple, with their four children tearing around the church and car park, occupying much of their attention.
On his daughter’s wedding, Gary said: “Well, it’s only once in a lifetime isn’t it? Feeling how I felt last night I wasn’t sure, but I knew I needed to battle through it.
“Everyone has been so friendly and offered such a warm welcome to the family here, today. I am over the moon with the response we have had to the story. I can’t thank Swindon enough.”
David Gray, 50, minister of the church, said: “Like everybody else, we saw something on Facebook and thought I had a church they could use, if that’s what they wanted.
“It was coming up to Christmas and I thought it was an act of kindness.
“It’s very important for the father of the bride to be there. The bride wants that tradition of being walked down the aisle by her dad.
“He looked very frail, but equally pleased to be able to do it. He was almost in a state of shock at the reception they received.”