Father walks bride down aisle 10 days after becoming paralysed by brain tumour

A father overcame paralysis caused by a brain tumour to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Peter James, 59, suffered a seizure which froze the right side of his body just 10 days before daughter Catherine Townsend tied the knot.

The father-of-two was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in August last year after losing his spatial awareness, and while undergoing chemotherapy set himself the target of walking alongside his daughter on her big day on December 6.

But just 10 days before the ceremony in Gower, Swansea, Mr James suffered a seizure caused by a bleed in one of the tumours and resulted in him losing the use of his right arm and leg.

Photo dated 6/12/19 of Catherine Townsend and father Peter James, credited to Anthony Jones
Photo dated 6/12/19 of Catherine Townsend and father Peter James, credited to Anthony Jones

Daughter Mrs Townsend, who married husband Tom, said: “We had no idea how we were going to pull through this. Dad was totally devastated and it was heart-breaking to see him so upset and hurting.”

But the family were aided by occupational therapist Anthony Jones and specialist physiotherapist Sophie Kirby, both from cancer charity Macmillan, who took on the challenge of getting Mr James fit for the wedding.

Both took Mr James on walks up and down the corridor every day at Singleton Hospital, Swansea, and visited the rural hotel wedding venue, Oldwalls, beforehand to see what other support they could provide.

In just days Mr James was fit enough to be able to walk down the aisle, supported by the Macmillan workers, and stayed overnight at the hotel before returning to his hospital ward the following morning.

Mr James, a Swansea Council trading standards officer from Sketty, Swansea, came out of hospital shortly before Christmas and is now waiting to start radiotherapy treatment.

Mr Jones said: “It was clear it was deeply important to him. He became emotional whenever he spoke about it.

“We got him moving and tried to replicate an aisle there as best as we could.

“We really wanted it to happen, and watching him walk down the aisle for real was overwhelming. It was a career highlight for me and Sophie. It doesn’t get any more rewarding than that.”

Mr James’ wife, retired nurse Sue James, said: “Catherine was the first of our children to be married. She’s our only daughter so it was very, very important to Peter that he was able to walk her down the aisle.

“If it wasn’t for Anthony and Sophie, we would never have got him there. They were amazing.”