Dereham couple tie the knot hours before risky heart operation

A Dereham couple have tied the knot in hospital, just hours before the groom had to undergo a high risk heart procedure.

Charles Green and the Rev Jenny Taylor arranged the rush wedding at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after being told Mr Green's chances of survival were slim.

But against the odds, the 87-year-old is now recovering at home and hoping to go on honeymoon.

The great-grandfather said: 'I was aware that it would be touch and go and so we decided to get married. It hasn't changed anything but now we belong to each other officially.'

The couple, who live next door to each other in Eckling Grange sheltered accommodation, have been inseparable since they were first introduced by a friend just over six years ago, after she moved to Dereham following the death of her late husband.

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They both love travelling the world, walking, and are dedicated members of the Royal British Legion, but their far-flung adventures had to be put on hold in December last year when Mr Green underwent a triple heart bypass at Papworth Hospital, in Cambridgeshire.

The father-of-six recovered well but in January he deteriorated and it was discovered all three grafts for his bypass had failed.

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At the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital it was decided his only chance of survival would be a high risk procedure to put a stent into one of his arteries.

Mrs Taylor, who is keeping her previous marital surname, is officially retired but still involved with St Nicholas' Church in Dereham and its five associated churches.

On Tuesday, February 28, Mrs Taylor visited a friend who joked about them getting married in hospital.

She said: 'Everyone thinks we are a couple because we live next door to each other and go everywhere together. He proposed not long after we met about six years ago but I turned him down, not because I didn't like him, but because I had been fairly recently widowed and I wasn't ready.'

The couple decided to see if they could arrange a wedding for the next day, Wednesday, February 29.

Mrs Taylor, 71, had to find a wedding ring, and decided there was no need for a wedding dress, but that her 'work clothes' would be OK as, after all, the groom was in his pyjamas.

They were married by the hospital chaplain and two days later Mr Green underwent the heart procedure, which was carried out by consultant cardiologist Liam Hughes.

Mrs Taylor said: 'When he went down to theatre he was very calm and I thought what a brave man. We just want to thank everyone at the hospital, especially Liam. They have been wonderful and we couldn't have asked for better.'

Dr Hughes said: 'He was going to die, without any question. His arteries were so bad he couldn't even eat a meal without getting angina and his heart was beginning to fail.

'If the patient is brave enough to make the decision to go ahead then I think it's important for us as doctors to be prepared to be brave enough to undertake high risk procedures.'

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