Dream wedding is saved by friends

Gavin McNamara with family and friends and people from Smawthorne Hotel  in Castleford who raised more than �10k for him and his family. (p602a411)
Gavin McNamara with family and friends and people from Smawthorne Hotel in Castleford who raised more than �10k for him and his family. (p602a411)

Generous residents have raised more than £10,000 to help pay for a dream wedding for a dad-of-two diagnosed with cancer.

Gavin McNamara, 36, had to give up work as a self-employed gas engineer when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November and he feared he would have to cancel his wedding to fiancee Kelly Woffindin.

But generous residents near his home in Castleford rallied round and raised thousands to pay for the wedding in August.

Mr McNamarasaid: “I cannot thank everyone enough. It’s just been crazy.

“There were complete strangers donating hundreds of pounds.

“It’s not the amount of money that’s amazed me the most, it’s the effort people have gone to in order to help us out.”

Among the events held to raise the money were two auction nights at the Smawthorne Hotel.

Some people also took part in a 20-mile bike ride and a bungee jump.

Mr McNamara, of Walden Street, added: “The wedding was booked and we had paid £4,500 towards it.

“But we thought we would have to cancel and lose our money until I told a friend about my diagnosis and it all snowballed from there.

“The wedding is going to be an amazing day. To have the wedding of your dreams and not have to take a bank loan or get into debt is like a dream come true.”

Mr McNamara had surgery to remove his bladder on Boxing Day last year and has been recovering at home since January. He hopes to return to work next month.

He added: “The Smawthorne spirit is second to none. Everybody has been unbelievable and what is most heartwarming is I think they would have done it for anybody.”

The couple will now marry at All Saints’ Church in Pontefract on August 30 before jetting off on honeymoon to Tunisia with their two sons Mason, six, and Oliver, two.

Mr McNamara has been told there is a 50 per cent chance of the cancer returning within ten years.

He added: “I had three problems – cancer, money and my mental health. People in the community have taken away two of those problems.

“There has been so much going on that I’ve always had something to focus on and not had time to sit and think about it.

“Now, I need to make sure I beat the cancer.”

Mick Robinson, landlord of the Smawthorne Hotel, said: “It all started off with me and Lee Clough, one of Gavin’s friends, putting £100 in to help his living costs and it just grew from there.

“Gavin is a smashing lad and he is an inspiration to anyone else who is fighting cancer. It was the least we could do to help him and his family.”