‘We have some very good friends’: Wedding ceremony organised within 24 hours
A drummer whose wedding was organised within 24 hours by North London Hospice paid tribute to his “amazing” friends.
Simon Cooper, from Oakwood, whose wedding to Claire Hempsted was scheduled to take place in December 2017, has terminal lung cancer and is a patient at the Finchley hospice.
So, with the help of the staff, family, friends and generous locals, their wedding ceremony took place at 4pm on Tuesday, June 21, in the Hospice’s Room of Quiet, with less than a day’s organising, and a fortnight before their planned engagement party.
Mr Cooper, whose previous jobs have included playing drums for Chas and Dave and working as a photographer for Status Quo, admitted it was his wife’s idea.
When asked for his reaction when she told him he was getting married the next day, his response was a single, unprintable word.
He also said: “This entire day has been amazing, the hospice helped sort everything. We told them what we wanted for the ceremony, the flowers, balloons, and they sorted it out. They even surprised Claire with our light-up initials – something she has always dreamt of.
“We have some very good friends.”
Born with a blocked bowel and diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth, Mr Cooper overcame these obstacles to pursue his dream to be a professional musician.
He became drummer for Chas and Dave after being talent spotted at the Chickenshed Theatre by the stars themselves, and played two gigs a night with his oxygen cylinder hidden behind his drum kit.
In 2012 he received a call saying there was a set of lungs ready for him and an ambulance would pick him up in one hour, at 4am. His second transplant lasted 17 hours, but allowed him to live a normal life.
However January of this year, four years after his transplant, he was diagnosed with incurable cancer.
The new Mrs Cooper said while the year had been difficult and the day had a twinge of sadness, it was also a day of celebration.
She said: “I am very happy, seeing how everyone came at the last minute, and getting married to the man I love, it’s wonderful.”
Among the guests were Chas and Dave themselves, who provided the music. The couple’s first dance was “London Girls”, but with the lyrics changed to “Oxford Girls”, Mrs Cooper’s home town.
Dave admitted it was so last minute he had not realised it was a wedding until they were on their way to the hospice.
Chas said: “Simon is a great drummer, and as they say in Australia, a top bloke, he has our sense of humour. When you’re on tour there’s always something you can get the hump about, but not Simon.
“We’re lucky we’re not gigging today or away, we’re so happy we could be here for him.”
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