Sam and Abbie's story
Sam and Abbie Reynolds wanted their guests to make a donation to charity instead of buying them a gift for their wedding that took place in June 2018. Rennie Grove Hospice Care nurses cared for Abbie’s Mum, Gill and Abbie remembers them being there for the whole family during Gill’s illness and after she passed away. So the couple chose to honour Gill’s memory by asking for donations to come to Rennie Grove.
Abbie explains: “Having lived together for 4 years before getting married, we already had everything we needed so we knew straightaway we wanted to give to charity instead of asking for gifts. Rennie Grove very quickly became the obvious choice due to our personal experience.
“Lots of people said it was a really thoughtful idea and a lovely personal touch, and we were overwhelmed with how generous our guests were. We’re so pleased we can put the money to such a good cause and help others who are going through what we did.
“Sam’s Dad, Maurice, passed away from bowel cancer in November 2009, when we were 18 and had just got together. A few years later, when we were 22, my mum Gill was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I remember within weeks of her diagnosis we were visited by a nurse from Rennie Grove Hospice Care. My sister and I weren’t quite sure what to expect, because in all honesty we didn’t really know exactly what they did. The nurse was incredible; she was kind, compassionate, funny and made us feel so relaxed yet so supported. She didn’t just speak to Mum but she spoke to my sister and I and made it clear Rennie Grove was also there for us; we felt she truly cared about us. Mum went through months of chemotherapy and an operation and a year later was given the all clear. Four months later, however, we were told the cancer had returned. More chemotherapy followed, this time a lot more intense, and again the nurses from Rennie Grove visited every week, every time with smiles, support and a sense of humour which I know our mum really appreciated.
“I remember it was a Sunday in the March of 2015, when my sister and I visited our Mum (we’d both moved out by then). It also happened to be Mother’s Day, so we had plans for the three of us to get a takeaway and watch a film; we knew Mum had been in some pain and discomfort since her last chemotherapy session so wouldn’t want to go out anywhere. When we arrived we knew something was wrong. Luckily for us, the Rennie Grove nurses were there to help. They were on the end of the phone to give support and advice and came to visit us, even though it was Mother’s Day. My sister and I had no idea what to do, and it was one of the nurses who made the decision to ring an ambulance. Ten days later my Mum passed away in hospital; she was 55.
“What I will always remember about Rennie Grove is the fact they were always there for us. On the phone, via email or in person, they gave us advice, kind words and comfort. Every single nurse we met was fantastic and went the extra mile; the nurse who had called the ambulance even rang a few days later to check on us, and we received a card from them after Mum had passed away. We can’t thank Rennie Grove enough.”
We had the most fantastic wedding day, everything was perfect. We got married in Cheddington Church, where I grew up and where Mum’s ashes are interred. We even had a bouquet of flowers matching mine made to place on her headstone. We then had the reception on Sam’s family farm in a marquee in a field; the farm which Sam’s Dad had run, lived and worked on. We also placed photos of Gill and Maurice in the marquee. We like that we were able to make our wedding so personal and feel as if they were both involved, it felt very poignant. The speeches were, of course, emotional, there wasn’t a dry eye in the marquee but it was such a special day. The weather miraculously was perfect, despite thunderstorms and torrential rain just down the road; some people said there may have been two certain people pulling some strings for us!
“We knew it would be hard not having Maurice and Gill there with us on our wedding day, but in a way they were there, and it was still without a doubt the happiest day of our lives.”