A Sheffield couple whose foster child needs round the clock care have thanked Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice for helping their dream wedding become a reality.
Anne Reid and Catherine Mair, who have collectively fostered over a hundred children, tied the knot at Wortley Hall in Sheffield recently after meeting in 2012 through a fostering agency.
The remarkable couple have been looking after 14-year-old Sarah for almost four years. Sarah lives with the newly-weds in a bustling Norfolk Park household along with another foster child with a degenerative condition and Catherine’s youngest birth daughter, Lola.
The family were joined by almost 200 guests from all corners of the globe for the big day.
Sarah spent the previous two nights at Bluebell Wood, giving the couple the chance to make sure all the last minute preparations were taken care of. The teenager, who had her hair, nails and make-up done at the hospice, was accompanied to the wedding by members of Bluebell Wood’s care team to look after her throughout the day.
Catherine, 40, who has been fostering children since she was in her early twenties, said: “It was just amazing. It was so much more emotional than we thought it would be – just incredible.
“When we saw the children as we came down the stairs – we could see them but they couldn’t yet see us – it was incredibly difficult not to cry my eyes out.”
Sarah has built a close relationship with many in the Bluebell Wood care team over the years, who were over-the-moon to be able to help her be a part of her foster carers’ big day.
“To know that she’d be looked after properly throughout the wedding was a huge weight off for us,” said Anne, 48, who wore a kilt on the day to celebrate her Scottish heritage.
“We knew that she was hundred per cent in safe hands. We even thanked Bluebell Wood in our speeches for all their support as well as telling people who they are and encouraging them to fill up the collection tubs we had scattered around.”
In keeping with the Scottish theme, the couple were played down the aisle by a piper – something they knew Sarah, who is fond of loud big band music, would enjoy.
With plenty of other foster carers in attendance, the wedding was also a celebration of families of all shapes and sizes. And while the newly-weds admit their life is full of challenges, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“She’s taught us so much,” said Anne.
“We wouldn’t be the people who we are without having had the chance to care for Sarah. It really has changed our life.”
Mandy Binney, Community Team Leader Nurse at Bluebell Wood, said: “It was an absolute privilege to be a part of Anne and Catherine’s big day and I’m delighted that we were able to lend a hand.
“Sarah is such a pleasure to be around and I know she had the time of her life at the wedding.
“A huge thank you to the different teams at Bluebell Wood for all their help and support, without us all working together it wouldn’t have been possible.
“We wish the family all the happiness in the world on their new adventure together.”