Cancer-hit couple recreate a wonderful wedding day
GOODNA residents Ian and Susan McDonald had planned to renew their vows on their golden wedding anniversary in two years' time, but when Ian was diagnosed with terminal cancer this possibility seemed unlikely.
In the midst of the diagnosis, Ian's daughter Shantelle Sherrington hatched a plan.
"Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May," she said.
"He isn't a candidate for surgery so he has 18 months, if we are lucky, to live."
"This is when I came up with the idea to have a surprise renewal of their vows for their 48th wedding anniversary."
Ms Sherrington used her upcoming 40th birthday celebrations as a ruse to have family and friends gather together at the Robelle Parklands in Springfield where guests, a wedding celebrant and a professional photographer were waiting to surprise the unsuspecting couple.
On the photographer's cue, Ms Sherrington produced the wedding bouquet.
"Mum looked at it and asked what it was, and I said: 'It's for your wedding renewal; you're getting married today!'
"We walked over to where friends and family had gathered. My Mum said she was recognising people's faces and yet not really clicking as to why they were there until she finally realised it was for them."
The couple, originally from England, could only afford a simple ceremony 48 years ago at a local registry office, followed by a dinner out alone.
Mrs McDonald said last week's emotional vow renewal had been everything that her first wedding wasn't, with the surprise including a big reception with family and friends and a wedding cake.
"It was wonderful to see the fact that working on the surprise had helped to bring our daughters closer together," she said. "It was an amazing day. We both loved it."