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Fatally-ill patient marries long-lost love at Royal London Hospital

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:10 05 October 2010

Lionel and Angela exchanged their vows at the Royal London Hospital

Lionel and Angela exchanged their vows at the Royal London Hospital

AN EAST End patient battling with a fatal illness married his long-lost love at the Royal London Hospital. Lionel Hancock, 75, who is suffering with kidney failure, married Angela Saunders, 64, at an emotional ceremony at the hospital. The couple, who

AN EAST End patient battling with a fatal illness married his long-lost love at the Royal London Hospital.

Lionel Hancock, 75, who is suffering with kidney failure, married Angela Saunders, 64, at an emotional ceremony at the hospital.

The couple, who first met when the bride was a 23-year-old PE teacher, tied the knot on Friday after spending 40 years apart.

It was not until Lionel's friend contacted Angela in January and told her about his illness, that the couple met again.

And within two weeks, Lionel, who lives in White Horse Lane in Stepney, proposed.

The couple were hoping to exchange their vows in the summer but after he was admitted to the Royal London last month and told he could not have dialysis because of his heart problems, they decided within a week to marry.

"We thought it would be better to do it sooner rather than later." Angela said.

"The doctors have said they cannot do anything more to treat him and he may not get better. It is more likely to be months rather than years.

"I knew he was not well when I said yes but I didn't have a second thought. We do what we do when we love somebody and we just deal with it. I just love him so much.

"Every minute of every day that we have together is precious."

In an emotional ceremony, the couple sat side-by-side holding hands as they exchanged their vows in front of a registrar.

They were surrounded by Angela's 86-year-old mum Dorothy, her sister Alison, friends and doctors and nurses from the hospital's renal ward.

Fellow patient Ronnie Mugerwa, 28, read out a blessing and then the couple were blessed by the hospital chaplin David Rushton.

And their first few days as a married couple got even better when Lionel was told he could be discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

The former chief rent officer for Tower Hamlets council added: "I was dumb-struck when I saw Angela again.

"And I knew pretty much straight way I wanted to marry her. I was convinced there was no-one else I wanted to be with.

"I am feeling so happy and I know that madam here is taking care of me.


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