MEET the fab four couples who are still in the running in the Bride of the Year competition.
The excitement and the nerves are mounting as these would-be brides and grooms move a step closer to their ultimate dream – a £12,000 wedding courtesy of the Hartlepool Mail and Robert Usher Photography.
We asked the public to vote for their favourite couples in the competition and you did it in massive numbers. More than 1,700 phone and text votes were cast.
They chose the four couples listed below.
DAWN BRAHAM AND GEOF PATTERSON
DAWN, 41, has faced a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis (CF) but fiancé Geof, 39, has been her rock when the going gets tough.
After hearing she was through to the finals, Dawn, of Greatham, said: “That is so brilliant. I am really excited. I was on tenterhooks all morning while I waited for the phone call to tell me if I was through or not.
“I think I am going to be really nervous on the finals night.”
As well as CF, Dawn also has diabetes but Geof has been there for her all the way.
AMY LEES AND SHAUN McEVOY
NERVOUS Amy, 27, was at work when the Mail called to give her the voting results.
And when we told her she was through to the finals, there was a sudden burst of cheers and applause from her workmates.
“I am shaking,” said Amy, from the Central Estate area of Hartlepool. I can’t believe it. I am in total shock. My stomach has been in knots all morning.”
Amy and fiancé Shaun McEvoy, 29, had to postpone their own wedding plans in 2010 when their unborn son Ben was found to be suffering from an abnormal double tube linked to one of his kidneys.
DEBORAH LANGLEY AND
DEBORAH, 44, was another one who could barely stand the tension as she waited for the results.
“I think I have aged 10 years,” she said. “I kept having dreams of the different scenarios. Some were of me being told ‘you’re through’ and others where I was told ‘sorry you didn’t make it’.
“But most of the time, I just haven’t slept. And I probably won’t right through to the finals,” said Deborah.
Her fiancé, Andrew Mullen, 39, faces a race against time to say “I do” to Deborah because of a health condition.
He can barely stand and has been diagnosed with degenerative spinal disease, facet joint arthritis, mechanical back pain and nerve damage.
Andrew said Deborah’s constant support gives him the strength to fight on.
The couple, from the town centre area of Hartlepool, first met through a social media site in 2001.
ZOE EDMENSON AND MARK
ZOE, 31, did not sleep at all the night before the Bride of the Year voting results were announced. She said: “When I finally did, our baby woke me up when she was screaming the house down. I dropped off at 1am and she woke me up at 1.30am!
But she described her place in the finals as “fantastic news. It is exactly what I hoped to hear”.
Zoe’s story is one of a family’s battle with health problems. Her son Billy Ellis contracted pneumococcal meningitis at six-months-old. He pulled through but has epilepsy and has suffered hundreds of seizures since. Billy has also suffered from other health problems including mastoiditis.
Then Zoe, from the Rift House area of Hartlepool, started contractions at just 23 weeks with daughter Sally.
Doctors put her on drugs and steroids and delayed the birth until the 37th week when Sally was born by emergency Caesarian section.
Zoe praised Mark, 33, for his support through it all.
● THERE’S not long to wait to find the winner. All four couples will appear before a panel of judges at the grand finals on Tuesday next week.
It will be a nerve-filled, emotional night in which one of our would-be brides will get that ultimate piece of good news – they’re getting married in sumptuous surroundings.