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Wedding celebration for man in critical care at Royal Papworth



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A patient who is currently being cared for in critical care at Royal Papworth Hospital has married his fiancée in the room in which he is being treated.

Wedding of Liam Hanrahan, 31 a patient in Critical Care at Royal Papworth Hospital who married Sarah Cousins 32 in a civil ceremony in his room in the unit. Picture: Keith Heppell. (30373057)
Wedding of Liam Hanrahan, 31 a patient in Critical Care at Royal Papworth Hospital who married Sarah Cousins 32 in a civil ceremony in his room in the unit. Picture: Keith Heppell. (30373057)

Liam Hanrahan, 31, wedded Sarah Cousins yesterday, Thursday February 27 and the Cambridge Independent was there to witness the pair get hitched in a moving civil ceremony.

They were joined by their mothers and Sarah’s two children, 10-year-old Leon and Lyle, six. Also present in the room was nurse Jenny Beckett, who has looked after Liam for much of his stay in hospital.

The wedding, the first at the new hospital, was made possible thanks to the hospital’s critical care team who sourced cakes, flowers and food for the blessing in the hospital’s chapel after the service.

Liam is currently on a BiVAD (biventricular assist device), which is supporting his failing heart. The machine works by helping to pump blood out of his heart’s ventricles and around his body.

Wedding of Liam Hanrahan, 31 a patient in Critical Care at Royal Papworth Hospital who married Sarah Cousins 32 in a civil ceremony in his room in the unit. Picture: Keith Heppell. (30373027)
Wedding of Liam Hanrahan, 31 a patient in Critical Care at Royal Papworth Hospital who married Sarah Cousins 32 in a civil ceremony in his room in the unit. Picture: Keith Heppell. (30373027)

His bride Sarah revealed to the Independent that she had said a tearful goodbye to him FIVE times, fearing he would not survive.

Sarah, 32, said: I’ve had to say goodbye to him five times because they thought he wouldn’t make it each time. It’s been traumatic and that’s how I knew I couldn’t live without him. I’ve been here every day since. I am glad we got married at Papworth as the staff have been brilliant.

“Liam was admitted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow in mid-January. From there we came to Royal Papworth and have been here ever since. We got engaged here, too, on Saturday, February 1, so it’s all happened very quickly.

“Liam’s condition just made us think ‘life is too short, let’s just do it’, and as he is being supported by a BiVAD device that meant having the wedding here at Royal Papworth.

“The nurses on critical care have been amazing. If we were to get married elsewhere in future we would probably invite them anyway, so it made sense to just go ahead with it.”

The civil ceremony was followed by a blessing in the hospital’s chapel and multifaith area, conducted by chaplain Revd Anthony Gill.

Wedding of Liam Hanrahan, 31 a patient in Critical Care at Royal Papworth Hospital who married Sarah Cousins 32 in a civil ceremony in his room in the unit. Picture: Keith Heppell. (30373085)
Wedding of Liam Hanrahan, 31 a patient in Critical Care at Royal Papworth Hospital who married Sarah Cousins 32 in a civil ceremony in his room in the unit. Picture: Keith Heppell. (30373085)

The couple would like to say a huge thank you to the following people and organisations for their amazing help in making the wedding happen at short notice, offering the following free of charge:

Two Little Cats Bakery – for donating a wedding cake

Kelly Austin – for donating a dozen cupcakes

Cambridge Floral Designs – for donating flowers

Party Mania, Cambridge – for donating balloons

Waitrose, Cambridge – for donating food and snacks

OCS – for donating food and snacks

Royal Papworth Hospital is the UK’s leading heart and lung hospital. Having performed the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979, the hospital now performs more heart and lung transplants each year than any other UK centre.



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