A reluctant bride who rejected more than 100 proposals from her devoted partner finally said ‘I do’ – after she was left fighting for life in hospital.
Tony Shears, 68, met Barbara Pepper, 66, met through their local newspaper’s lonely hearts ads in the mid-90s.
They couple, who were both divorced, fell for each other but despite Tony proposing to Barbara “more than 100 times” she always turned him down.
But they finally got hitched last week after Barbara was rushed to hospital with a potentially fatal lung condition linked to her childhood pneumonia.
After regaining consciousness in Nottingham City Hospital, Tony proposed at her bedside and was thrilled when she said ‘yes.’
The couple, from Cropwell Bishop, Notts., tied the knot last Thursday in a side room at the hospital with the help and support of the medical staff.
Retired secretary Barbara, who has three grown-up children, said: “I’ve been saying ‘no’ because I’ve been divorced and I was very dubious about getting married again.
“I should have said ‘yes’ a long time ago.
“It was really lovely that we were able to help do this for them. It was a great day and a real team effort. Everyone was really happy and talked about it for several days.
“My doctors are saying that my condition is not going to get better. I don’t know how long I have left so I’ve got to make the best of the time I have.
“Hopefully I should be going home in the next week or so.”
Tony, a retired lorry driver and painter and decorator who has one daughter, said: “When we met we had both come out of bad marriages.
“We met through the lonely hearts section in our local newspaper and hit it off straight away.
“I first proposed quite soon after we met but Barbara turned me down. She didn’t want to risk getting married again.
“Over the years I must have asked her 100 times and each time was the same answer – it became something of a running joke.
“Two weeks ago Barbara was rushed into hospital because she was struggling to breathe. She had pneumonia as a child and had one of her lungs removed.
“She only has a small piece of her one remaining lung left and she is very susceptible to infections.
“When I was at her bedside in hospital I she opened her eyes and I took her hand. I said to her ‘Are you going to marry me now?’ To my complete surprise she said ‘Yes I think I will’.
“I couldn’t believe it when she said yes, I thought, she’s not getting out of this now, I’m marrying her straight away.
“It took a week to organise the wedding but the hospital staff were wonderful.”
The pair tied the knot last Thursday in one of the side rooms on the ward where Barbara was being treated.
One of the medical staff did Barbara’s hair while others decorated a cake and organised a buffet for guests.