Couple bring wedding day forward so dying Sunderland mum can see them exchange vows

Laura Hall, front right, next to son Joel Gardner-Hall, with Lily Groves, back left, and her youngest daughter Daisy Gardner-Hall, right.
Laura Hall, front right, next to son Joel Gardner-Hall, with Lily Groves, back left, and her youngest daughter Daisy Gardner-Hall, right.

A couple are in a race against time to hold their wedding ceremony so that one of their mums can see them tie the knot.

Joel Gardner-Hall and Lily Groves had been due to get married in November, but have moved the date forward to Friday, May 3, so that Joel's mother Laura Hall will be able to take part in their big day.

Lily Groves and Joel Gardner-Hall have been a couple since 2010.

Lily Groves and Joel Gardner-Hall have been a couple since 2010.

Laura, 59, from South Hylton, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and underwent 18 months of treatment until she was in remission from the disease.

But in the summer of 2017, she started experiencing symptoms which led her to get check out by her doctor, leading to confirmation that the cancer had returned and was in her liver and lungs.

Her illness led her to retire from her post as a customer service advisor at Sunderland City Council.

Laura has since been told the cancer is now in her brain, giving her three-months to a year to live, with Sunderland Royal Hospital's Phoenix Unit helping to care for Laura, who is also mum to Daisy, 21, a student of religious studies at Edinburgh University.

Laura Hall with children Joel Gardner-Hall and Daisy Gardner-Hall at Disneyland last year.

Laura Hall with children Joel Gardner-Hall and Daisy Gardner-Hall at Disneyland last year.

Joel, 24, who works as a sales advisor for Sky, and Lily, 25, a support worker who works with adults with learning disabilities, have paid off various bills to cover the cost of their wedding day, but with six months fewer to find the cash, they are under pressure.

The couple, who started their relationship in 2010 and met through friends, hope Laura will read at their ceremony, which will be held at the registry office in Lily's home city of York, followed by a reception at a function room.

Joel said: "All I want is for her to see us get married and to be able to enjoy it.

"She's never going to see Daisy get married and I know it would mean a lot to her.

"She's said it's really important to her because we've been through quite a lot and this would bring her a lot of happiness."

Joel and Lily, who live in Newcastle, have set up a GoFundMe page to help collect the rest of the funds they need, telling followers: "For whatever anyone can spare to help us make it special for her while she's still with us."

"Because me and Lily both work a lot of hours, we've been paying off bits month by month, so we've been putting away a couple of hundred pounds when we have got paid and we've been cutting back," added Joel, who is a trans man.

"Most places take a 10% deposit and then you have to pay the rest one month before and we've now got £2,000 left to pay when we had until October before."

She added her thanks on behalf of Laura and the family to the NHS and Macmillan for the care and support they have offered.

The funding page can be found via www.gofundme.com/bring-wedding-forward-so-mum-can-attend