Couple from village near Leamington who organised a wedding amid a terminal cancer diagnosis enjoy a ‘perfect’ special day

Days before lockdown restrictions started in March last year, Owen was told he had bowel cancer – and then two weeks later Laura found out she was pregnant

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 5:13 pm
Owen and Laura Murray on their wedding day. Photo by Lakes & Light Photography

A Long Itchington couple who organised a wedding amid a terminal cancer diagnosis said they enjoyed a ‘perfect’ special day.

Owen and Laura Murray held their wedding at Coombe Abbey and celebrated with 30 guests at the first ceremony of the year at the historic venue which is set in 500 acres of parkland and garden.

Owen and Laura met in October 2019, but days before lockdown restrictions started in March last year, Owen was told he had bowel cancer – and then two weeks later Laura found out she was pregnant.

Daughter Luna was born on December 18, and on the same day Laura accepted a marriage proposal but four days later, doctors told the couple there was “nothing else the NHS could do” to treat Owen’s bowel cancer.

Owen, 39, has started a chemotherapy drug trial after £29,000 was raised in an online fundraiser to pay for alternative treatments, and he is expecting an update on progress soon.

The couple initially booked a wedding at a small register office, but with the help of friends and a generous offer from Coombe Abbey to hire the venue free of charge, they were able to enjoy the day of their dreams in the historic setting last Monday, May 17.

“It was amazing, I struggle to find the words,” said Owen, who previously served as a rifleman in the Royal Green Jackets regiment of the British Army.

“The venue was beautiful, and the staff could not have done any more to make it special for us. Everyone was so nice and friendly and accommodating with every weird and wonderful request.

“It was just amazing.”

Laura arrived at the venue in a Lamborghini, before the couple enjoyed a ceremony with 30 guests, with video messages from friends also shown at the venue.

The couple enjoyed a special wedding breakfast with afternoon tea in Cloisters, and Coombe Abbey also catered for Owen’s dietary requirements to ensure a suitable menu made up of homemade hummus with crudites and chargrilled chicken kebabs.

“Organising a wedding so quickly meant there was a lot to do, but it came together perfectly,” said Laura.

“Everybody was really kind and generous, and staff at Coombe Abbey could not have been any more accommodating on every level – it made for the perfect day.”

The hotel also helped avoid a sartorial disaster for one special guest. A friend of the couple, who helped arrange the wedding, had left her dress at home – but Coombe Abbey staff saved the day by finding an alternative outfit which was the perfect fit.

The couple are now planning a ‘mini-moon’ over the bank holiday weekend, with a proper honeymoon planned for the future.

Ron Terry, General Manager at Coombe Abbey, said: “We were thrilled to be able to help Owen and Laura enjoy their special day with friends and family.

“When we were heard Owen and Laura were looking for a venue, we were keen to offer our help. This was the first wedding we have hosted since coronavirus regulations changed on May 17, allowing weddings and civil partnership ceremonies with up to 30 people.

“We always pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our customers but I think it is the first time we have ever had to come up with a wedding outfit.

“We were so pleased to be able to welcome guests back to our historic setting once again for a very special day.”