A brave disabled woman left her wheelchair behind to walk down the aisle and wed the sweetheart she met at the care home where they’re both residents.
Family and friends turned out in force to watch 45-year-old Sian Walley tie the knot with Steve Ferrier, 55, at the Ramada Hotel in Wrexham.
Plucky Sian, who has cerebral palsy, was determined to get out of her motorised chair for her magic moment and that’s exactly what she did with the support of her father and the best man as guests clapped and cheered with tears in their eyes.
The love struck pair fell head over heels for each other at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham.
In addition to cerebral palsy, Sian has epilepsy and has other medical issues while Steve suffered a heart attack and several strokes that have also left him as a permanent wheelchair user.
They became engaged on Valentine’s Day last year when Steve popped the question after staff prepared a romantic three-course meal for them in his room.
With the help of management and staff at Pendine Park, the happy couple now have a double bedroom and their own private lounge within Bryn Bella Care Home, a specialist facility for younger adults with physical disabilities, which means they can be supported while living life to the full as a married couple.
After the ceremony a beaming Sian, wearing a long ivory wedding gown and crystal and diamond tiara in her hair, said: “I was determined that I’d actually get out of my chair and walk down the aisle to wed Steve.
“Because of my condition it was always going to be difficult. I was a bit shaky and I had to stop three times and get myself together. But I made it in the end – and I’m so glad I did.
“I’ve had an absolutely amazing day with all my family and friends round me. Most come from Wrexham but some travelled over from Rhyl and Southport specially for the occasion.
“I’m just so pleased we are able to get married. I thought when I had to move into a care home that was it. My life as such was over and I had nothing to look forward to. I never expected to find love again.
“I’ve always dreamed of getting married and to get wed to Steve is like having my dream come true.”
She added: “Everyone at Bryn Bella and Pendine Park has been very supportive and we can’t thank them enough. We would never have managed on our own out in the community. However, we can now live as a married couple knowing we have the support we need.
“It just goes to show that moving into a care home isn’t the end of your life. For Steve and me it’s proved to be a whole new beginning.”
The happy bridegroom, resplendent in grey morning suit, said: “Everything has gone very well and it feels great to be married at last.
“Sian vowed that she’d walk up the aisle on our big day and she certainly didn’t let me down. It was amazing to look round and see her coming towards me on her own two feet.
“Having everyone here to share our big day was just fantastic and I’d like to thank everyone who came along.”
According to her proud dad Dave Fowles, who helped her make it up the aisle under her own steam, making the long walk was typical of Sian’s strong sense of determination.
“She always said she was going to walk and that’s exactly what she did. Everyone much appreciated it as you could tell from the applause and cheers she got,” he said.
“Sian and Steve make a lovely couple and everyone wishes them the very best for the future.”
Steve’s 85-year-old mother, June Ferrier, who had journeyed over from her home in Southport for ceremony, said: “It’s just lovely to see them married and, especially to watch Sian actually leave her chair and make it to the front of the room on her own.
“That took some real determination and guts – but then that’s why my son is so lucky to have her as his wife.”
Best man was Paul Pelligrini, who used to be Sian’s supporter and advocate, and also helped the bride take her careful steps up the aisle.
He said: “It’s been a fantastic day and everything has gone amazingly well. I think the way Sian walked up the aisle, as she always said she would, was a real inspiration. The way everyone chipped in to help with everything from the bride’s dress and shoes to the cake has also been just marvellous.”
Gill Hughes, a senior manager at Pendine Park, was delighted for the newlyweds.
She said: “It’s nice to have a happy outcome and to see two people who are in love able to get married. It was important we came up with a solution that meant they could live together after their wedding.
“We are all delighted to have been able to support Sian and Steve as they prepared for their big day and hope they enjoy a long and happy marriage together.
“Sian and Steve are the perfect example that moving into care isn’t the end of your life or your dreams. I really do wish them all the best for their future together.”