Terminally ill woman marries love of her life from hospital bed after 40 years together following shock cancer diagnosis

A woman diagnosed with terminal cancer has married her partner of 40 years with a special ceremony in hospital.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 1:58 pm

Gail Ritchie 57, has married the love of her life, Peter Stubbs, at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Friday, May 21, after receiving the shock diagnosis that she had terminal lung cancer at the end of April.

The pair from Farringdon, have spent four decades together after meeting in Sunderland pub The Dun Cow and made the decision to tie the knot following the devastating news.

Gail’s niece, Leigh Brown, said Gail had been receiving treatment for COPD when she was told that she had terminal lung cancer following a CT scan just three weeks ago.

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Gail Ritchie with grandson Jack who was able to attend the service in hospital.
Gail Ritchie with grandson Jack who was able to attend the service in hospital.

Leigh, 52, who is a nurse herself, said: “It was a shock to us all and it has been really difficult.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury granted them a special licence to get married and Rev. David Tolhurs from St Matthews came down to marry them.

"The staff on ward E58 went above and beyond, it was just so nice that people went the extra mile for them.

"The room was beautiful and one for the staff even did Gail’s hair.”

Gail Ritchie with husband Peter Stubbs following their wedding at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

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Gail’s niece Leigh, was able to attend the wedding, along with Gail’s grandson Jack, 14, her sisters Carole and Deborah, and brother-in-law Derek.

Gail is now unable to speak and has since returned home to pass away with her loved ones by her side.

Niece Leigh, from South Hetton, said: “Gail has a lot of friends in the city and is very well respected.

Gail Ritchie receiving flowers from niece Leigh Brown ahead of the wedding ceremony.

"I can’t thank the staff at the hospital enough for what they did.”

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Gail Ritchie with husband Peter Stubbs, and Rev. David Tolhurs from St Matthew's Church in Silksworth, who married the couple in hospital.