A young mum dying of bowel cancer walked down the aisle and married her partner in a dream wedding after being given just months to live.
Kaylea McCole, 31, fulfilled a lifelong wish to share the same surname as her children when she wed Mark McCole in Walton, Liverpool.
The mum-of-two brought guests to tears as she walked down the aisle in a stunning gown alongside her father Chris.
After tying the knot, Kaylea told the Liverpool Echo her big day was like a "fairy tale" as her children, Kian and Aoife, acted as a flower girl and page boy.
Kaylea and Mark, who have been together for 13 years, said their "I dos" at Blessed Sacrament Church in Walton on Saturday.
Kaylea said: “It was a like a fairy tale.
“When dad saw me in my dress he started crying, he said he felt like the proudest dad ever that day.”
The couple were wed by Kaylea’s cousin, Father Ged Callacher, who had everyone laughing throughout the service.
She said: “He made the service so upbeat, we didn’t want it to be sad, we wanted people laughing. I laughed all the way through, I couldn’t feel my sides for laughing.”
Kaylea told how the day was even more special due to the involvement of the couple’s children.
She said: “In the morning Kian kept saying, ‘Mummy, I’m nervous’, and during the service Aoife was dancing in the aisle at the church, she was entertaining everybody.
“They absolutely loved it.”
Kaylea said: “I’d wanted Stand By Me playing as we signed the register, but when we went to sign the register a Christmas song came on.
“Someone put the wrong CD in anyway, because it wasn’t meant to be that, so we all started laughing and I said, ‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter, don’t worry’.
“So we signed the register to a Christmas song, which we thought was hilarious."
As the newlyweds emerged from the church, the Liverpool JMU Gospel Choir were waiting, singing a moving rendition of Stand By Me for the delighted couple.
Kaylea added: “As we were leaving the church, I stopped because of all the photographers, and Mark said, ‘Kaylea you’ve not noticed something’ – and I turned around, and was… it was amazing.
“Because the photographers were there, I should have moved back so that everyone could hear – I just stopped in shock… it was just amazing.”
The couple’s wedding breakfast and evening reception were held at the Isla Gladstone Conservatory.
Kaylea said: “The staff went above and beyond. John and Sharon, the main people in the Isla Gladstone just completely looked after us the whole day – everyone went above and beyond.
"Dave, who was the toastmaster, he came to the church and took pictures first before doing his normal poem.
"When we got to the Isla Gladstone, and he did his poem, he’d printed the pictures of the wedding, so our wedding day pictures were on the poem.”
She continued: “I just can’t even begin to thank everybody enough, because every single person went above and beyond, and more.”
The couple eventually left at 11.30pm, after enjoying a few dances and posing for hundreds of pictures.
Kaylea said: “Mark said to me, ‘this is the wedding I would have loved to give you and more, but have never been able to afford.
“‘It’s made my day, seeing you like a princess, you’ve made me the proudest man ever.’”
The couple were whisked back to the Shankly Hotel where they had been given rooms for the weekend.
Kaylea said: “It was the end of the most magical fairy tale.”
The mum, from Orrell Park, was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in January, and last month was given the heartbreaking news that her condition is terminal.
Kaylea decided her last wish was to get married so she would die with the same surname as her children.
She explained: “I want them to realise I was part of their life, even when I’m not around anymore.”
When her family and friends heard this, they rallied round to make it happen.
They entered the Echo’s Win a Wedding competition, and called on readers to help them collect tokens from each edition – even drafting in Reds legend Jamie Carragher on Twitter, who even dropped in to meet the happy couple on their big day.
The people of Liverpool didn’t disappoint, collecting more than one million tokens to help make Kaylea’s wish come true.
She said: “To the Echo, thank you so much for doing that. The people who were part of the competition, every single one of them did something extra – the photographer brought a drone, and got my day guests to stand in a heart shape, and put us in the middle of it. As a present from him, he’s getting it put on a canvas.
“That’s just one of the things people did.”
“I can’t thank you enough, the people who sent in vouchers, the people who gave their time up, everybody just did it – I’m getting choked up just thinking about it, just thank you for making our day so special."
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