A Wigan man who battled through a gruelling heart transplant has married his devoted partner in a hospital ceremony exactly a month after the life-changing surgery.
Dave Hughes, 31, is currently in Freeman Hospital in Newcastle following the 12-hour operation which left him fighting for his life.
His partner, 24-year-old Louise Sedgwick, has remained by his side since the procedure on February 23.
The Whelley couple tied the knot in a private service arranged by hospital staff.
The ecstatic bride told her parents of their plans at the beginning of the week, asking her dad Tony to walk her down the corridor.
She was joined by her mum Kath for a mad dash into Manchester to find the perfect dress in time.
And yesterday the couple became the first to be married in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
The new Mrs Hughes said: “It was absolutely perfect, it was amazing.
“The nurses lit fake candles in the corridor where we walked up to intensive care to make an aisle. All Dave’s doctors, nurses and surgeons were waiting outside.
“Inside were fairy lights and banners and balloons. Dave was sitting in his shirt and tie waiting for me. It was perfect.”
The couple had written their own vows and exchanged rings during the service.
They were joined by just nine people, including their 18-month-old son George and both sets of parents.
Nurses had paid for a buffet so everyone could celebrate the nuptials afterwards.
Mrs Hughes said: “They got food, cake, wine, champagne, everything. They did it all. I can’t thank them enough.”
Her father Mr Sedgwick praised the “phenomenal job” done by the nurses, including a sister called Elaine who organised much of the wedding and went in on her day off work.
He said: “The Freeman is such a special place to Louise and Dave. It’s by far the best place for them to marry, it means so much to them.”
Since Dave’s surgery, the couple have faced numerous ups and downs, with Louise being told on a number of occasions that her now-husband might never wake up.
But despite the traumatic experience, she has stayed loyally by his side, only returning to Wigan on one occasion for an appointment regarding her own gallbladder surgery set to take place later this year.
Louise, who is an active campaigner for organ donation awareness, said she is grateful to donors all over the country for giving the couple, amongst others, the chance to start their new life together.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without those who selflessly give their organs to save the life of another once they have gone,” she said.
“Thanks to someone who decided before they lost their life to give their organs, Dave has been given another chance to live his.”
The couple, who are now waiting for news on the next step in Dave’s journey - in which he will be fitted with a Berlin heart to pump his new heart - said they had planned to do this all along.
Throughout the week Dave has been regaining his strength, even attempting to handwrite his own vows for Louise.
Just three weeks ago it seemed Dave’s life hung in the balance as doctors gave him several blood transfusions to keep him alive.
Surgeons told his anxious wife that he may have suffered from brain damage during the process. But he is now getting stronger every day.