Claire Sivorn learned in October last year that she may only have months left to live after being
diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The 55-year-old and her fiancé of three years, Craig Sivorn, 57, were looking forward to their
dream wedding, which was set to take place in Edinburgh this July. Sadly, just one-month after
they had put their plans in motion, Claire received the shock phone call that confirmed her
reoccurring backache was secondary cancer of the spine.
Following further tests and an appointment with her oncologist, Claire discovered that she also
had colon cancer and was advised by her doctors to cancel her summer wedding because they
feared she would not live to see the day.
With uncertainty surrounding Coronavirus restrictions and with Claire continuing to shield, the
couple thought their hope of becoming husband and wife was lost.
But as soon as staff from Ashgate Hospicecare learned of the couple’s wish to be married, they
immediately offered their support, helping them to secure an earlier date of 9 th April at their local
register office. The charity has even helped to organise the wedding flowers and booked one of
their volunteer professional photographers to capture the special day for free.
Claire said that the support she had received from Ashgate Hospicecare had been “amazing”
and that their help in planning her wedding went “above and beyond any expectation you could
“Nothing can prepare you for finding out you have a terminal diagnosis; it was like an out of
body experience. Even worse was receiving the cancer diagnosis over the phone as COVID
restrictions meant people were being encouraged to stay away from the hospital,” she said.
“Just like that all your plans and dreams are gone, your future is stolen right in front of your
eyes. But despite all that I knew I couldn’t just lay around waiting for it to happen, I had to get on
with living and that included marrying Craig, the love of my life.
“And that’s where Ashgate really stepped up to the mark and in just five weeks they have played
a crucial part in helping to pull our wedding together. They are incredibly caring people, and
nothing is ever too much trouble.”
Sadly, Craig was very familiar with the care and support that Ashgate Hospicecare could offer
as they had cared for his first wife before she died.
“Ashgate Hospicecare have been by my side since my initial diagnosis, as I got in touch with
them right away. Not only have they been there to provide physical support with advice from a
specialist Lymphoedema nurse and physiotherapy to help me to retain my independence, but
they have also been crucial to my overall wellbeing.
“They are always there to provide a listening ear and it is so comforting to be able to offload to
them. Especially as I sometimes struggle to believe this is really happening to me, I feel like this
must be someone else’s life.
“Then I’ll get a stabbing pain in my abdomen, a nasty reminder that this is most definitely real.”
The couple were dealt a further blow in January this year when Claire was diagnosed with
COVID-19 following a stay in hospital.
Claire said: “It just felt like one thing after another, and I started to wonder what else could go
wrong. The worst part was not being able to have any visitors, and when you’re told your life is
limited all you want to do is spend time with those you love.
“Thankfully, I was transferred to Ashgate Hospicecare’s inpatient unit where I was cared for on
their dedicated COVID ward. At Ashgate, you can have visitors as every patient has their own
private room which felt like such a luxury after being in hospital. It was wonderful to be able to
spend time with Craig again.
“I was an inpatient on Ashgate’s ward for 28 days and I felt incredibly safe and cared for whilst I
was there. It’s like staying in a hotel, everything you could want is catered for. The staff and
volunteers are wonderfully caring and really listen to what you have to say. Every face is a
friendly one with time taken to stop and have a chat with you.
“You can tell that the staff enjoy working there and that really shines through in the care they are
On 9th April, with their four closest friends in attendance, the couple were married at
Chesterfield’s register office. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds joined their four children,
from their previous marriages, in the garden of the home they share in Langwith for a small
The bride said she and her new husband were on cloud nine.
Claire said: “The help and support from Ashgate Hospicecare has been phenomenal, we are
grateful for their assistance in providing the beautiful flowers and lovely photographs. Along with
our family and friends they helped make our day one to remember.”
Claire and Craig: The couple met in 2017 and were looking forward to a happy future
Claire and Craig on their special day.
Claire and Craig shared their special day with their closest friends.
Ashgate Hospicecare, based in Chesterfield, provides specialist palliative and end of life
care including a wide range of community-based care and support services for
people with a life-limiting illness and their families across North Derbyshire and the High
Peak and Dales.
We are sorry to report that since this article was written Claire has sadly died. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Craig, family and friends.