A HOSPICE organised and hosted a wedding in just 24 hours for a patient battling liver disease and his partner – after his condition worsened during lockdown.

Charles Hobbs, 67, is fighting cirrhosis and he and his partner Shirley Reason decided it was time to exchange vows before Charles became too ill.

Charles, a resident at Fair Havens Hospice in Prittlewell, told staff the pair were keen to wed, and hospice bosses arranged a ceremony on September 17.

The pair have been together for 13 years, but Charles was forced to shield during lockdown and has condition deteriorated.

Halstead Gazette: The happy couple The happy couple

Shirley, 73 from Rayleigh, said: “We had been coping well at home, but eventually the 24-hour care became too much for me. I’d heard of Fair Havens before.

“My friend’s husband was cared for at the hospice when it was in Westcliff, and she recommended I reach out and ask for help.

“After getting a referral from the doctor, Fair Havens called the next day to say there was a room available.

“It was only very recently that we decided to get married, but I knew I couldn’t take on those arrangements myself. So the spiritual care lead, Martin Hill, liaised with my daughter to make the preparations within 24 hours.

“Staff have gone beyond any expectation you could imagine.

“You can tell they thoroughly enjoy working here and they’ve given up their own time to help us prepare for our wedding day.

“The team have pampered me, styled my hair, decorated the private garden outside Chas’ room and made a cake decorated with butterflies.”

Charles was diagnosed with the condition several years ago, and survived a major operation 18 months ago.

The couple have been full of praise for the hospice.

Shirley added: “It’s not morbid here, it’s relaxing for both the patient and their family which is so important. We’ve had so many trips back and forth to hospitals, so this is completely different.

Twin brother, Phil Hobbs was a witness. He said: “Everybody pulled together to arrange this celebration. When I was approached by Shirley’s daughter to organise the wedding, of course I said yes straight away, and then worked out how we could do it.”