‘St Helier wedding planners’ pay warm tribute to late colleague

October 4, 2013 4:36 PM

Tom Brake at MacMillan Coffee Morning commemorating Rosemary Cannon.Tom Brake MP joined the Mac Millain team and paid tributes to a member of staff from the operating theatre department at St Helier Hospital on Friday, (27 September), as the team held their Macmillan Coffee Morning in her honour.

Rosemary Cannon, who worked as a receptionist in the operating department for 19 years, passed away as a result of cancer of the oesophagus in March of this year. But not before, just two days before she passed away, her colleagues and close friends rushed to arrange a wedding for Rosemary and her partner of 26 years, Syd.

Anaesthetic co-ordinator, Julie Henry explained: "There were two great loves in Rosemary's life, her partner Syd and her budgies, the newly acquired Pixie and Dixie.

"It must be said that Rosemary was the driving force in their relationship when it came to organising things, and we often joked that she was like a PA to Syd. But the one thing that just hadn't happened was them tying the knot. It was Rosemary's dearest dream to be Mrs Cannon - but where to start? Cue the St Helier wedding planners!

"We knew that Rosemary didn't have long, and so it was all hands on deck as we began to organise a ceremony for them by Rosemary's bedside in St Raphael's Hospital."

Sister Sharon Palin said: "I had been working nights in the operating theatre, and got a call at about 9am asking for help in organising a wedding - in just one day! It was an honour to be involved, and so of course, I was really keen to help.

"One of the biggest challenges was making sure that we had all of the correct documents, including Syd's birth certificate - which wasn't easy! He had no idea where it was, and getting a copy was particularly difficult because Syd was a war baby, and had moved to his grandparents very shortly after birth.

"But we managed it! One of our theatre sisters crafted a beautiful rose bouquet for the bride and another sister drove Syd to the hospice, and we were ready to go. A mere 45 minutes after Rosemary's arrival at St Raphael's there was a small wedding party, a bride, a groom and the two lovely registrars from Sutton Registry Office who went above and beyond their duties to enable the wedding to go ahead.

"The wedding took place amid lots of tears but lots of laughter too, and later that evening the staff at the hospice pushed another bed into the room so that they could spend their wedding night together."

Julie added: "Mrs Rosemary Cannon passed away just two days later. Rosemary's funeral, undertaken by our hospital chaplain, took place at the local crematorium which was absolutely full with her family and friends. Rosemary is greatly missed by all who knew her."

To celebrate the life of their colleague, the team hosted the special coffee morning with VIP Tom Brake, the MP for Carshalton and Wallington, raising more than £280 for the cause. Tom said: "I was humbled and honoured to be able to take part in the event commemorating Rosemary."

"Although I never meet Rosemary personally, speaking to her friends I know that she was an amazing person and an outstanding colleague."

"The event was a very appropriate way to remember Rosemary. It was also an important reminder of all the invaluable work the Macmillan nurses do supporting those affected by cancer."

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