Jeff Thomas and Pauline Murray celebrate with family after their wedding at Abbeydale Nursing Home in Derby

A terminally ill derby man married his beloved longtime partner in a special wedding ceremony at a city nursing home.

Jeff Thomas, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2019, married Pauline Murray on Wednesday April 21 at the Abbeydale Nursing Home in Darley Abbey

The service for the couple, both 72 years old, continued after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a special marriage license.

Rev. Peter Barham of St. Edmund’s Church and St. Matthews Church, who applied for permission, performed the ceremony in front of a small number of close family members and guest Rev. Derek Honor of St. Barnabas Church, who gave a blessing during of the service.

Jeff moved to the Duffield Road Nursing Home in September to end life to take the strain off Pauline who takes care of him at home.

After partying together for 18 years last month, Jeff proposed to Pauline.

When asked what prompted him to ask the question, Jeff said, “It wasn’t because of my illness that we decided to get married, I’ll marry her because I love her.”

Pauline, a widow, said marriage was something she put off, but after Jeff moved into the house, she realized how much she loved him.

She added, “I trust him and he is everything to me. He is a beautiful man, I am very happy. To be honest, I think it is worth marrying him.”

Karen Jenkinson, Registered Nurse Manager at Abbeydale and Stanley House Nursing Homes, said, “We have never done anything like this before, but we would definitely do our best to make Jeff and Pauline a memorable wedding anniversary!”

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had to create a plan and risk assessment that complied with current safety guidelines.

“Our goal was to make sure that we could accomplish Jeff’s endeavors to marry Pauline.

“We were determined to include all of the things you would associate with a traditional wedding, including the special details that made it personal for the beautiful couple, including a ‘deer’ for the groom.

“With the support of donations from suppliers and local businesses, and the creativity and hard work of our staff, the day was amazing, a very positive, uplifting occasion for everyone after such a difficult year.

“We think we enjoyed the day as much as the bride and groom, and we wish them the best of luck as husbands and wives.”

Check out the gallery below to see more photos from Jeff and Pauline’s special day: