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Gift of a Wedding: Colchester Castle to play host to an extra-special celebration

Colchester Events Company has been tasked with organising its most short-notice wedding to date

Date issued: 7 September 2018

Colchester Events Company has been tasked with organising its most short-notice wedding to date, with less than four weeks to arrange a civil wedding ceremony and reception at its most sought-after venue, Colchester Castle. And there is good reason behind the urgency…

Last month, Patricia Harrison, the founder of UK charity Gift of a Wedding, approached Colchester Events Company to see if it was able to accommodate a unique request and use Colchester Castle as the backdrop for the big day of a very deserving couple.

The distinctive non-profit charity, which is now in its 7th year, aims to gift weddings to people with a terminal or life-shortening illness living in the UK. In the past three-and-a-half years they have gifted 180 weddings alone.

Richard Hardingham (31) and Kayleigh Pelosi (29) live in Colchester. They have been together for 12 years and engaged for two months. They have six children aged between five months and 12.

Richard was sadly diagnosed with terminal colon cancer, which by February 2018 had spread to his liver and lungs – resulting in the devastating news that he has only 12 months to live.

As Richard explained: “Colchester Castle is special to us not only because it is where we had our first date, but when I was younger and lived 60 miles away at the other end of Essex, I would often visit the Castle and decided that Colchester would be the place I would love to live when I was older.

“Little did I know my dream would come true only a few months later, when I moved there with my mum, brothers and sister. From that moment on, I felt at home and settled very quickly. In 2005, I met Kayleigh and fell deeply in love, and we went on to make a beautiful family together. Colchester, and especially the Castle, is a very sentimental place for us.”

Colchester Events Company is a complete wedding planning service, with a list of reputable suppliers who have helped to create dream weddings for hundreds of couples over the last two-and-a-half years, since it formed.  Many of these suppliers were able to kindly gift their services to Richard and Kayleigh, despite the short notice.

Interior Floral Design will provide some beautiful floral pieces for the day. Jamie Lee Smith Catering will deliver some delicious nibbles for the evening buffet, while Embellish Events will ensure the venue looks stunning with their decoration. Luxury and Classic Wedding Cars will ensure the party arrive in style and the evening entertainment is kindly provided by Bronzey’s Music Company.

Cllr Nick Barlow, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services and Chair of Colchester Commercial Holdings Ltd, said: “We are proud to have been able to support Gift of a Wedding on this occasion, to enable such a unique ceremony to take place at Colchester's stunning and historic Castle. The event will hopefully be an incredibly special day for Richard and Kayleigh, and their guests.”

Through the generosity of Colchester Events Company, their suppliers and the great support and dedication from Gift of a Wedding and their providers, Richard and Kayleigh will receive their dream wedding in September, creating wonderful and lasting memories for themselves and their nearest and dearest.

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