A terminally ill Aberdeen woman today said it “meant everything” to retake marriage vows with her husband.
Friends and family of Sandra and William Murray looked on as the romantic pair reaffirmed their special vows on Saturday to allow Sandra to make “as many memories” as she can before she passes away.
The ceremony, which was attended by around 40 people at the Brig O’ Don Pub & Grill on King Street in Aberdeen, took place more than 26 years on from the couple’s first wedding at the former Auchmill Inn on June 25 1993.
Sandra, 58, who received the devastating news she had stage four bowel cancer last October, said: “It means everything. I just want to make as many memories as I can now.
“I’ve got my head round my diagnosis. I can’t change it. I’ve just got to get on with it while I can. I’ve been told I’m terminal and just thought I would look to get all my family and friends together.”
The mum of four, who is from Dyce, was walked down the aisle by son William, 34, and 16-year-old grandson Kian – a special wish of hers. She was led to William as Bruno Mars’ hit Marry You played. “I chose the song as I wanted the day to be joyful and upbeat,” said Sandra.
Upon taking her seat at the front of the ceremony, Sandra brought tears to William’s eyes.
“I said I wouldn’t cry but one look at her in her dress and I just couldn’t hold back. She looked beautiful,” said William.
Russell Minty, who led the service, regaled the congregation with tales from down memory lane and recalled the night the couple met in 1983 and William said: “I’m going to marry you.”
Russell joked: “Sandra said to me that her immediate reaction to that was ‘this guy’s an idiot’.”
However, William worked his charm. Russell added: “From thereafter it was William and Sandra together.”
The couple got engaged but it was another decade before they got married as the arrival of daughter Claire, 35, and William Jr took priority.
Russell said Sandra’s experience of being around children as a teaching assistant at schools in the city inspired her to foster their son Colin, 33.
“They were asked to foster short term – and Colin stayed with them for 13 years. They absolutely class him as one of their own,” said Russell.
Sandra said: “The ceremony was wonderful. I wanted all our friends and family around and my wish has come true.”
She thanked Carlanne from Meraki Hair in Bridge of Don for dressing her hair for free.
Sandra went to her GP with symptoms three years ago and was told she had irritable bowel syndrome – and was then told 11 months ago she had stage four bowel cancer.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
She said: “I knew it wasn’t IBS and I just kept having to push and push but by the time they did do something I had stage four bowel cancer.
“I have done chemotherapy to try to extend my life a wee bit but that didn’t work and the tumour has grown.
“I have done radiotherapy as well but it is inoperable.”
An NHS Grampian spokesman said: “As a health board we cannot comment on individual patient cases, but would strongly encourage Ms Murray to contact us regarding any concerns she has. When a patient does make direct contact with us we are more than willing to discuss their case with them.”