Community pulls together to make dreams come true

August 04 2017

A COMMUNITY centre which helped a man with terminal cancer marry his partner is now pulling out all the stops so he can achieve his bucket list.

A COMMUNITY centre which helped a man with terminal cancer marry his partner is now pulling out all the stops so he can achieve his bucket list.

Staff at Longwell Green Community Centre stepped in so Jason Pimm could tie the knot with Louise Holbrook before he became too ill.

They set up a Just Giving page and were inundated with offers of money, help and support, which meant the Kingswood couple's wedding could go ahead on July 22.

Now the centre is organising a family fundraising day and evening event so the family can use the money to make the most of their last moments together.

Community centre manager Alison Jordan said: "We've made a special friendship over the last few weeks and became very close to Jason, Louise and their families. 

"The community centre pulled out all the stops and it was a fantastic day but we don't want that to be the end of it for them.

"We want to continue our support for Jason and Louise and continue fundraising."

The fundraiser takes place on Saturday August 12 from 11am and will feature stalls, inflatables, arts, crafts, face painting and much more.

An evening event on the same day will feature all-round entertainer and charity stalwart Daz Sims and will run from 7.30pm.

Alison: "The wedding was amazing and was a huge success as well as being a very emotional day. We touched base with the family a couple of days after when they came in to thank us. They told us that another scan following the removal of a second tumour wasn't showing very positive signs for Jason. 

"So we decided to do a family fundraising day as the time scale is now shorter rather than longer. It's about raising funds for those bucket list things that Jason wants to do like take the children on day trips and spend time together as a family."

Jason, 46, and Louise, 37, had originally visited the community centre to look at rooms for his 46th birthday party.

"They wanted to get all the family together for what would probably be his last birthday celebrations," Alison said.

"They went home and within a few hours they rang back to say they had decided to get married and could we accommodate it."

Although the centre wasn't an approved venue for the actual marriage, Alison said she would look into it to see what could be done.

It was arranged that the couple could have the wedding blessed at the centre but would need to do the formalities at Kingswood Civic Centre a few days later.

Alison said: "The family explained that all Jason's treatment had been funded by themselves and they didn't have a big budget for the wedding. I became a wedding organiser overnight! I started looking at wedding sites to get ideas for styling the rooms and put a message out on Facebook to ask if anyone could help with decorations."

What happened next astounded Alison and her colleagues. "Within hours the message had been shared thousands of times. It literally went viral, going out to 64,000 people!"

A shop worker from Tesco in Longwell Green saw the message and suggested to Alison about setting up a Just Giving page to fundraise for the wedding, even giving up her time to help the centre set one up.

The page raised £1,310 with other offers of flowers, wedding cars, table decorations and photography coming in from the Facebook message.

"Social media went ballistic and my phone didn't stop ringing. Everyone could see what a genuine story it was and how the community centre was trying to help," said Alison.

Support also came in from the Mustard Tree Community Church in Longwell Green.

"They were amazing with many members of the church giving monetary donations and people who didn't want to be named paying for fresh flowers."

Alison said it was extraordinary how the community has responded.

"There were so many people out there who just wanted Jason and Louise to have their special day.

" It proves that the community out there has got a heart. It's amazing to think that what started with me trawling through the internet to search for decorations has resulted in such a special day for Jason and Louise."

Tickets for the Daz Rocks for Jay evening event cost £5 and can be purchased from the community centre.

Entry to the fun day is free. Stalls cost £10 and you can book a place by calling the community centre on 0117 932 3722.