A couple who met as teenage sweethearts were married at Pendleside Hospice – and were sent a surprise video message by Everton’s caretaker manager and legend Duncan Ferguson.
More than 40 guests attended the wedding of Dr Abigail Paige and Mark Clegg – both Everton season ticket holders – who met in Burnley 20 years ago.
Abigail (37) who lives in Ightenhill, has spent the last five weeks at Pendleside suffering from acute lymphocytic leukaemia.
The couple met at the Manor Barn pub and restaurant.
Later Abigail spent seven years at university and while studying for her PhD was sponsored by pharmaceutical giants Glaxo Smith Cline who she later worked for in their drugs development laboratory.
Mark works for Trolex, a global supplier of monitoring systems for the mining, industrial and tunnelling sectors.
Local businesses rallied to ensure the wedding went ahead at short notice.
The furniture was provided by events company Nationwide; the buffet by Nathan Chambers, of Sandy Lane Deli; make up by Antonia Bianca Ferguson, of The House of Pout,
Barrowford; Abigail’s wedding gown by Lancashire Wedding House, Barrowford; the rings by Stefan Huppach; and photography by Amy Finn – all free of charge. Daisy Chain in Briercliffe donated flowers and the Fence Gate donated ice buckets for the champagne.
Abigail was given away by her dad Alan Rowe and attended by her sister Amy Rowe and nieces Maisie and Madison Rowe. The best man was Martin Bell. Abigail’s friend Dr Hazel
Turner read a poem.
Abigail was welcomed to her seat by the sounds of a harp played by Frank Wood and afterwards the Pendleside Choir sang ‘Let It Be’ and fundraiser and choir leader Leah Hutchinson sang Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ to the accompaniment of guitarist Ken Mitchell.
The wedding was organised by Abigail’s mum Janet, sister Amy, cousin Alexandra Hind and Pendleside’s day services, outpatients and family support manager Julia O’Neill and rehabilitation assistant Emily Whiteoak and other members of the hospice team.
Hair By Russell and Abigail's auntie, Angela Spencer, were also hugely instrumental in making the day as magical as possible.
The ceremony was conducted by Malcolm Binns and Sally Hope, from the Registrar’s Office.
At the reception guests were entertained by ballroom dancers Kate Bodill and Lewis Frobisher, of Sanderson Dancing and Fitness Centre.
Abigail said: “I have had such a wonderful day even though I was very nervous! My friends who arranged it all in such a short space of time made it a very special occasion and I am so happy to be married to Mark, my childhood sweetheart.
“Pendleside is such a wonderful place and the setting was so beautiful.”
Only 10 weeks ago Abigail’s family were called to her bedside at The Christie in Manchester when doctors feared the worse.
She recovered consciousness and was later transferred to Pendleside.
When she was first diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015 she received a stem cell transplant from her sister but unfortunately her body rejected the transplant making her condition
Helen McVey, chief executive at Pendleside, said: “Abigail’s wedding was such a beautiful occasion and I am so happy for her. I would like to thank all of the people who made it such a memorable day.”