Joy as big-hearted Sunderland medics get ill toddler to his parents' wedding from his hospital bed after launching special mission

A couple’s big day was made complete when their ill little boy made it to their wedding from his hospital bed, thanks to a special mission by Sunderland medics.

The parents of Zac Hardy, two, were making final preparations for their big day when the family got the worrying news the toddler had developed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection.

The condition usually causes mild cold like symptoms, but can cause more serious illness in those very young, and Zac needed treatment at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

As the wedding day of his parents Ian and Tanya approached, the medical team started to plan a visit so they could have their photos taken with him in his suit.

Medics got Zac to the wedding on time.

But when consultant paediatrician Dr Cat Rose heard Zac could miss out, her dual role between South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and the North East and Cumbria Transport and Retrieval Team (NECTAR) gave her the chance ensure he could be there at the service.

She worked alongside Sunderland hospital colleagues and the NECTAR team to arrange for an ambulance to take him to Beamish Park Hotel for the ceremony.

They also organised medical equipment and a trolley, which were decorated with balloons and bunting especially for the event.

Dr Rose visited the venue ahead of the day to work with its management to make sure the room was set up ready for his arrival and to deal with any emergencies that might arise.

Zac Hardy and his parents on their wedding day.

The event was the first time Zac had been reunited with twin sister Olivia, as well as Tanya’s children Robbie, 16, Imogen, 11, and Henry, seven, since he had become unwell.

Ian, 38, and Tanya, 40, had looked into moving the service, but faced losing out by changing their plans.

Ian said: “We thought we’d get some photos and that would have been nice, but then the consultant heard about it and said ‘This is what we’re going to do’.

“I just broke down, because I couldn’t believe it.

Dr Cat Rose and Zac Hardy in the NECTAR ambulance on the day.

“Everybody was just fantastic. We can’t thank them enough for what they did for us.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when they saw Zac there.”

Following the ceremony, Zac, who was accompanied by his grandmother, spent a short time enjoying the celebrations before heading back to hospital, where his parents, who live in Stanley, later joined him.

Dr Rose, whose colleagues added fascinators and other touches to their scrubs for their occasion, said: “I spoke to Zac’s family and said ‘I think I can get your son to the wedding’ but it involved a lot of thought and planning upfront.

Zac Hardy with is mam and dad on their big day

“Everybody just did their bit and we all worked together. It was so nice to be able to get him there and be in all the photos.

“We had a lot of volunteers from NECTAR who wanted to help and lots of people played a part, so I’m grateful for their help.

“We’re happy Zac’s since been discharged and feeling much better.”

Zac’s family have since dropped in flowers and chocolates to the ward to thank the team for their support.

The team and Zac's family get set to head to the ceremony.
Ian and Tanya Hardy walk down the aisle following their ceremony.
Zac Hardy's trolley bed was decorated especially for the occasion
Zac Hardy in his suit ready for the service
Zac Hardy all dressed up for his parents wedding day
Zac Hardy with his mam on her wedding day.
Zac Hardy with the team and family members who helped him get to his parents' wedding ceremony.