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Couple on cloud nine after emergency wedding

A Middlesbrough couple are "on cloud nine" after emergency powers were used to marry them and realise the groom's dying wish.

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Christine Meaney and Desmond Codona were married at their Hemlington home last Thursday (April 30) having only contacted Middlesbrough Council's registrar team two days earlier.

Des, 59, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and was three weeks ago told he would only have weeks or a small number of months to live.

During the Coronavirus lockdown the dad had been telling the couple's children how he had always wanted to marry their mum and so their oldest daughter Suzi contacted Middlesbrough Principal Registrar Dawn Galloway.

Weddings are currently suspended due to Coronavirus but following a risk assessment it was decided emergency powers could be used to make the couple's dream come true.

Emergency weddings are being looked at on a case by case basis by the registrars and only granted in the most exceptional of circumstances.

And so two days later with the legal paperwork done Dawn and Deputy Principal Registrar Sarah Teece attended at the Hemlington home in full personal protective equipment and married the couple.

Christine, 60, said: "They were absolutely exceptional. I know it's a cliché but they put their lives on the line to do something really good and kind. We are over the moon that they could do it.

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"Des has always wanted us to be married but the time has never been right.

"He had been talking to our children Suzi, Michael and Katie our son and daughter and Suzi got in touch with Dawn and it spiralled pretty quickly - that was on Tuesday and on Thursday we were married.

"It was very surreal. There was Dawn and Sarah and they were absolutely fantastic from start to finish. They made us feel really at ease and relaxed and it was the best we could possibly hope for.

"We are both on cloud nine. Des is absolutely buzzing it has really given him a lift. It has really picked him up and that has made me feel a lot better. It's given him a real boost."

Des added: "It's the best thing I've ever done. The staff who came round were fantastic, really great."

Principal Registrar Dawn said: "The applications we receive during the Coronavirus lockdown for emergency weddings - called a Registrar General's Licence - are being looked at individually on a case by case basis.

"In this instance having spoken to the family and carried out a risk assessment we felt it was something we could do for them.

"They are a lovely family and a lovely couple and we are really pleased that we were able to grant this wish and make it happen for them."

Chris Hobson, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said: "It is very sad that so many special occasions are going unmarked and so many weddings have had to be cancelled but this was clearly an exceptional circumstance and so I'd like to congratulate Christine and Des on their wedding and thank Dawn and Sarah for being able to make this wish come true."

Pictured: Christine Meaney and Des Codona (top); Principal Registrar Dawn Galloway (R) and Deputy Principal Registrar Sarah Teece (L) in their personal protective equipment (bottom)

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