‘Wedding of the century’

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The generous spirit of a Castleford community helped give a dad-of-two and his fiancee “the wedding of the century” after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Gavin McNamara, 36, was forced to give up work as a self-employed gas engineer after being diagnosed with bladder cancer in November.

And he thought he would have to cancel his wedding to fiancee Kelly.

But after people living in the Smawthorne area of the town clubbed together to raise £10,000 towards the cost of the wedding, the couple tied the knot on Saturday.

Mr McNamara, of Walden Street, said: “It was spot on.

“It couldn’t have gone any better and everybody said it was the wedding of the century.

“We cannot thank people enough.

“They made our dream come true and it was just a truly amazing day.”

Among the events held to raise the money were two auction nights at the Smawthorne Hotel, a 20-mile bike ride and a bungee jump.

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

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

The couple tied the knot with a service at All Saints’ Church, on South Baileygate, Pontefract.

They were joined by 234 friends and relatives at the the evening reception at Mid Yorkshire Golf Club in Darrington.

Mr McNamara added: “Everybody made an extra special effort to help it run so smoothly.

“Every little detail was perfect and it really was a dream wedding.

“It was like something out of a fairytale.”

Mr McNamara had surgery to remove his bladder on Boxing Day last year.

The couple, who have two sons Mason, six, and Oliver, two.

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.”

Mick Robinson, landlord of the Smawthorne Hotel who held a number of fundraising events, said: “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.”