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A Wedding In Williamwood Residential Home

A Wedding In Williamwood Residential Home

Earlier in the year, Heather Cameron contacted CrossReach to sing the praises of her wedding venue…


Back in August 2013 Heather, a horticulturalist and keen fisherwoman met Bruce (a farmer) via an aptly named online site “Plenty of Fish”!  

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it certainly seemed to be true for Bruce.  Following her return from a salmon fishing expedition to Alaska in July 2014, Heather had hardly stepped out of the plane before he ‘popped the question’. 

Life was busy.  Developing the farm took up most of their time and alongside her own career utilising her training in horticulture within the Local Government in South Gloucestershire, securing a date for the wedding was a challenge.

As with most brides-to-be, Heather desperately wanted her mother (Mary) to be with her at her wedding and this presented Heather with a challenge. 

Having been diagnosed as having dementia, Mary had been cared for by her husband (Alistair), a retired doctor, for a number of years.  In 2015, Mary took up residence in CrossReach’s Williamwood specialist residential home for people who have dementia.  Heather was concerned that taking her dear mum out of the home for the day could be “unnecessarily unsettling” for her.

Reflecting on her mother’s move to residential care Heather shared, “Given the circumstances, Williamwood is the best thing that could have ever happened for both of my parents.  The staff are angels.”

The support the entire family had received from the team at Williamwood inspired Heather to approach the manager in early 2016 to ask if there was any possibility of her getting married in the home!

Service Manager Donna couldn’t have been more excited.  She was thrilled at the prospect and the discussions as to how to make it happen began.  Alistair, Heather and the staff agreed that taking Mary’s bed out of her room to fill it with chairs for the small ceremony would be the optimum way to allow Mary to be present at her daughter’s wedding.

With the date and venue secured and with strict instructions from her step-daughter-to-be not to wear her usual outdoor trousers and wellington boots, Heather chose her outfit and booked a restaurant for the post ceremony meal.

On 14 May 2016, she cut flowers from her dad’s garden to dress the tables of the restaurant and on her way to arrange them, dropped into the local florist to ask if he could put a simple bouquet together for her wedding at 2:00pm!  Quickly recovering his surprise at the timing of the request, he agreed. 

Meanwhile, the staff at Williamwood arranged the room to accommodate the wedding guests: 13 people in total including guest of honour, Mary.

With bunting draped at the entrance, ribbons adorning the handrails and gold and silver petals scattered along the corridor, the bride and groom entered their bespoke venue.

Rev ‘Uncle’ Jim came out of retirement to perform the short and informal ceremony which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who were present.

With the register signed, Mary, her new son-in-law Bruce, Heather and her father, were accompanied by the witnesses and the other guests as they made their way to the cake on display outside Mary’s room.  In the presence of the residents who chose to attend, the new Mr and Mrs Cameron cut the cake and shared it around.

Once the photographs were taken in the lovely sunshine, the small party said cheerio to Mary (whose room was quickly returned to its usual layout) before joining a few other close friends for dinner.

On the 17 May 2016, Heather posted the following on the CrossReach Facebook Page:

“Bruce and I had a wonderful wedding ceremony at Williamwood House on Saturday in my Mum's room. The staff were so helpful and it was the best place we could have chosen. It meant Mum could be with us. Some of the other residents enjoyed the cake cutting and throwing confetti over us. I'd like to wholeheartedly thank your wonderful staff, who go out of their way to look after the residents and who were so kind to us too. Kind regards, Heather and Bruce Cameron”


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