Thursday, 28 October 2021
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Stags turn out for brides’ magical Highland wedding after year of breast cancer heartache

When Lorraine McLaren and partner Shelley Coyle got married, their wedding turned into a bit of a stag party.

The couple, together for 17 years, tied the knot after a year of heartache that saw Lorraine undergo treatment for breast cancer .

They booked a rustic lodge in the snow-covered Highlands and invited just a wedding photographer, their registrar and a witness they didn’t know to join them on their special day.

And a pair of unexpected guests – the two Monarchs of the Glen – appeared in time for the ceremony.

Lorraine, 47, of Glenboig, Lanarkshire, said: “The whole day was magical – stags and all.

“After the year Shelley and I had been through, we decided that when we got married we’d go away, just the two of us, and have a really special day.

“Shelley had always wanted to stay in a log cabin, so I found this wonderful place that had the most beautiful scenery and a lot of wildlife nearby.

Lorraine and Shelley Coyle-McLaren had a magical wedding day at Eagle Brae (Image: Allan Law Photography)

“We both love animals, but to have these stags join us for our wedding was something we could never have dreamed would happen. It was perfect.”

Lorraine, a training and development manager, and care worker Shelley, 40, got married at Eagle Brae, near Beauly, Inverness-shire, in January.

Twelve months earlier, Lorraine had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Both her mum and sister had the disease.

She proposed to Shelley three days before beginning months of debilitating treatment and planning their wedding gave them both something to look forward to.

Lorraine said: “Shelley and I first met in a bar in Glasgow 17 years ago and knew very quickly that we wanted to spend our lives together.

“At the time, same-sex marriages weren’t legally an option, so we had a blessing ceremony at a friend’s home.

“When same-sex marriage was allowed, Shelley proposed to me again. We did plan to get legally married one day, but never got round to doing anything about it.

“After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, we thought, ‘What are we waiting for?’”

Lorraine had found a lump in her breast shortly before Christmas 2016.

Despite a family history of breast cancer, she was shocked when tests revealed she had the disease.

Lorraine’s jigsaw proposal

She said: “I went to my GP and was referred to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride where I had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy all carried out on the same day.

“Just before we got the results back, Shelley noticed what she thought was an indentation on my breast, which she had read could be a sign of breast cancer, but she hadn’t said anything to me.

“When we were told I did have breast cancer, it was hearing I would need chemotherapy that scared me more than anything else. I was so shocked I had to lie down on the bed in the room.”

Lorraine was told she needed months of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy and radiotherapy.

She said: “I found the chemotherapy particularly tough going.

“Sometimes it was only a bath that helped ease how awful my body felt, and there were several nights where Shelley set up a bed on the bathroom floor for her and our pet dog Ollie to keep me company while I lay in the water.

“Throughout my treatment, Shelley kept me going, telling me that the bad moments would pass and that the treatment might be hard but was going to make me better.

“She shaved my head, and let me shave her head, too, so we were bald together. She kept me positive and smiling.”

At the end of Lorraine’s treatment Shelley surprised her with a trip to Barcelona – a city they had always dreamed of visiting.

Lorraine then set about organising their wedding.

She said: “I proposed to Shelley with the help of a jigsaw which had a picture of us both on it, with the words, ‘Will you marry me?’

Once she had completed the puzzle, I called Ollie into the room and he was carrying a ring for Shelley on a little ribbon attached to his collar.”

Lorraine and Shelley spent four days at the idyllic log cabin looking onto a loch in the shadow of Glen Affric and Glen Strathfarrar.

Lorraine’s mum Helen

They exchanged their wedding vows on the decking of their holiday home, dressed in beautiful wedding gowns they had each chosen separately.

They then celebrated their wedding with a dinner in their lodge, before relaxing in front of their log fire.

Lorraine said: “Everything about the day and our time at Eagle Brae was perfect.

“We saw the two stags for the first time on the day we arrived, and we would often see them nearby when we went out for walks.

“For them to come so close to us was just amazing, and to even have them in our wedding photos – well, we couldn’t have asked for more.”

Lorraine describes wife Shelley as “her rock” throughout her treatment. She also received great support from the rest of her family including her mum Helen, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and her sister Kim, who had been diagnosed in 2013.

Tragically, while Lorraine was undergoing treatment, her mum was told the breast cancer she thought she’d beaten had returned and spread into her bones. She died last month, aged 76.

Lorraine said: “My mum was an amazing, strong woman who never complained about what she was going through.

“There were days when I was getting treatment at Hairmyres and she was getting treatment at the Beatson, and we’d chat on the phone at night about how our days had been.

“She died just two weeks before she and my dad would have celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary.”

Later this year, Lorraine, who is still recovering from the effects of her treatment, will appear as a model in the Breast Cancer Care Scotland Fashion Show.

The event raises vital funds for the charity and takes place on October 25 at the Hilton Glasgow Hotel.

Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist UK-wide support charity for people affected by breast cancer.

Funds raised at the show will help the charity continue to provide care, support and information to people affected by breast cancer.

Lorraine says when she walks down the catwalk at the fashion show she will be thinking of her mum.

She said: “My mum was so delighted to hear I had been chosen to be part of the show.

“These last 18 months have been pretty hard, but I’m so looking forward to getting up on that catwalk and hopefully showing others that you can still look great and have a lot of fun after a diagnosis of breast cancer.”

For show tickets to the Breast Cancer Care Scotland Fashion Show call 0345 077 1892 or email theshowscotland@breastcancercare.org.uk

Source: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/stags-turn-out-brides-magical-13084673

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