Strangers organise free wedding to help dream come true for Stevenage bride’s dying dad

Cathleen Parkinson with father Eric Parkinson

Cathleen Parkinson with father Eric Parkinson - Credit: Archant

Most brides spent months or even years planning their wedding – but Cath Parkinson from Stevenage had to make all the arrangements for her big day in just 24 hours to meet a heartbreaking deadline.

It has always been dad Eric’s dream to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding – but six weeks ago he was told he only had weeks to live.

A friend of a friend shared Cath’s story online and asked for help. The community rallied round, and a day later the wedding was planned and Eric will get to share his daughter’s big day when she marries fiancé Stephen next week.

Yesterday she told the Comet: “I just want to say thank you to everyone that has given us help, it has all come together within a day.

“Dad has been so excited to see that I’m happy.

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“We have got a dress for free, the mens flowers, my dad is being fitted for a suit, a car – you name it, we’ve been given it.

“I cannot believe it, we spent Tuesday in tears as the offers came in and I cannot believe how generous everyone has been. Everyone has been absolutely amazing.”

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Cath was given the devastating news that her father Eric only had “days or weeks to live” six weeks ago after the 56-year-old was diagnosed with five brain tumours and lung cancer.

She has now given up her full-time job and moved her dad in with her for his final days.

Sarah Poole, owner of We R Cakes in Datchworth, shared Cath’s story with the Stevenage and Hertfordshire Wedding Network Group on Monday night to see if anyone could help, and within 24 hours the business community had come together to give Cath her dream day.

Sarah, who has made cakes for Eric in the past. has offered to make Cath and Stephen’s wedding cake

She said: “Everyone has been amazing.

“I think it has shocked people in a way, that so many people who are strangers to Cath have offered to help out.”

Cath, who has a six-year-old son, said: “I just want to thank everyone for being so amazing, I cannot thank them enough.

“You name it they have done it, just so that dad can see his little girl get married.”

Cath, 28, and her partner Stephen Boon, were not engaged before her dad’s diagnosis, but decided to get married so Eric could give her away.

Eric, who is in a wheelchair, will lead his daughter down the aisle.

He said: “It will be really, really nice to see Cath get married, to be able to give her away, before I go.

“I am just overwhelmed with everything that has happened, it is unbelievable.”

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