Wedding gift for Combe Martin cancer sufferer

A North Devon cabbie stricken by cancer will get his wish to marry the woman he loves on Friday after big hearted local companies agreed to pay for the couple s dream wedding. Stuart Cresser, aged 41, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, lung and

A North Devon cabbie stricken by cancer will get his wish to marry the woman he loves on Friday after big hearted local companies agreed to pay for the couple's dream wedding.

Stuart Cresser, aged 41, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, lung and liver just over three months ago, prompting him to propose to his partner of 19 years, Sandra Hicks, 53.

The Combe Martin couple approached wedding planner Johanne Legge of West Country Wedding Boutique at Bear Street, Barnstaple, and - after a few telephone calls - were delighted when she told them the wedding would be free after several companies offered their time and services for nothing.

"Local businesses having been absolutely amazing," said Johanne, "no matter who we've spoken to they've come up trumps.


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"It's such a sad story and it's an incredibly tough time for Stuart and Sandra. For me, to be involved in making a sad situation into something unforgettable is priceless."

After being married at Barnstaple Register Office the couple will be whisked off to the reception at Barnstaple Rugby Club with everything - from Sandra's dress, the cake and catering to wedding car, entertainment and even table decorations - all given free of charge.

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Both Stuart and Sandra worked for his father's business Mac's Cabs in Ilfracombe until he became ill. Following the initial diagnosis, he lost the use of his arms and legs and was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered a spinal tumour at the base of his neck.

After four weeks in hospital, with radio and chemo therapy, Stuart is home and slowly regaining some movement but needs 24 hour care, with morning carer visits and the rest of the time Sandra is helped by her adult children Ian - and partner Lisa - Donna, Kevin and Mark.

Sandra said there were not enough words to describe what Jo at West Country Weddings had done for them.

"It's fantastic and it made me cry when she told me what people have done for us," she said.

"I left all the details up to her and she has since become a very good friend - I hope she goes a long way in her business because she deserves it.

"You read about these things but you don't ever think it would happen to you. A massive thank you from Stuart and me and all of my family for everything they have done."

Stuart told the Gazette he and Sandra had been thinking of marriage for some time but always seemed to be working and never found the right time.

"So it's taken this to get us to do it, as it puts things into perspective," he said.

After another scan the couple will know more but both are optimistic.

"We have just got to live every day as it comes and make the best of it," said Sandra.

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