Formby couple wed in hospital with TV presenter Aled Jones as their special guest and filmed by Song
Formby couple Frank Heath, 72, and Kate Hart, 69, had planned a small wedding in Southport hospital ward day room but, it quickly became a TV event when they agreed to let the BBC’s Songs of Praise film their special day.
A team from the long-running religious television programme, Songs of Praise was following the work of the Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust chaplain, the Rev Martin Abrams, when he was asked to conduct the wedding service.
Staff joined family, friends and Aled Jones to watch the happy couple take their vows in a ceremony made possible at short notice by Sefton registrars at Southport Register Office.
Frank is terminally ill and has been in hospital since Christmas. The Formby couple have been together for five years and Frank has asked Kate many times to get wed.
Kate said: "It was Franks last wish for me to marry him, how could I refuse! It just happened that Songs of Praise were filming in the hospital at the time."
"It was all sorted out so quick and the hospital staff were absolutely amazing. They decorated a side room with balloons and flowers and food and drink. Sister Hannah has done so much for us. I would like to thank everyone that got involved and helped with our special day."
Among the guests was John Smits, from Hull, who served in the Army with Frank in Aden (the former British colony now part of Yemen) in the mid-Sixties. John tracked him down through the Aden Veterans’ Association and it was the first time they had met since their Army days 49 years ago.
The wedding was the second to be held at the hospital this year. In January, a patient at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre married her partner in a civil ceremony.
The Rev Martin Abrams said: “The service was a wonderful, happy day for everyone concerned. It may have been our second wedding this year but is very unusual for patients to marry while they’re in hospital. It was just luck that Songs of Praise happened to be here last week."
“I want to thank Kate and Frank for allowing us to share their wedding day as well as staff from across the Trust who pulled out the stops to make it so very special for them. They are truly a lovely and remarkable couple.”
Writing on Twitter, Aled Jones added: “Had the most incredible humbling day @SONHStrust – wonderful staff and patients and an honour to spend time with Kate and Frank – xx.”
Flowers for the wedding were provided at no cost by June the Florist of Birkdale.
The episode of Songs of Praise featuring Kate, Frank, staff talking about their faith and the work of the chaplain is due to air on BBC1 on Sunday 19th March.
A huge congratulations to Frank and Kate from Formby Bubble and thankyou for sharing your wonderful story with us.