THE excitement is mounting in the search for the 2012 Bride of the Year.
Seven couples are in the running in this year’s competition which carries a fantastic £12,000 prize of a dream wedding.
Now comes the next stage. It’s time for our readers to have their say on the pair they would like to reach the grand finals.
You can vote for your favourite couple by phone or text.
You have from now until midnight on Wednesday, April 18, to register your vote.
Once voting has closed, the four couples with the most votes will go forward to the grand finals to be held on April 24
We will be revealing those four lucky couples next week.
But for now, get voting and help push your favourite couple one step closer to that ultimate dream of a wedding in the Captain’s Cabin on HMS Trincomalee, on Friday, September 7, at 11.30am.
Dawn Braham and Geof Patterson (VOTE 01).
DAWN Braham, 41, is hoping to tie the knot before her lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis gets worse.
She describes Geof, 39, as her rock when her fight with cystic fibrosis (CF) becomes difficult to bear.
She needs 60 tablets and two bouts of physiotherapy a day to cope with the condition.
“I don’t know what I would do without Geof,” said mum-of-one Dawn, of The Grove, in Greatham. “He has been a godsend for me.”
As well as CF, Dawn also has diabetes. But a third health battle was the spur for her and Geof to decide they wanted to marry.
In September last year, she had a cancer scare when she found a lump in her left breast.
After a mammogram, scan and biopsy, she got the all clear and afterwards Geof suggested that they should get married.
Ashleigh Clark and Michael Brumwell (VOTE 02).
LOVING couple Ashleigh Clark and Michael Brumwell, both 24, first met six years ago.
But Michael, from Meadow Avenue, in Blackhall, decided this year it was time to show his true love for his sweetheart with a proposal of marriage.
Ashleigh, who works as a sales adviser, said: “He had a candlelit dinner at a posh restaurant in mind, but I fancied eating Chinese. We ended up at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant and then parking up near Crimdon Dene beach.
“We were still sitting in the car when he proposed. I had no hesitation at all in saying yes and I would not have changed the way it happened for the world.”
Ashleigh, from Hetton-le-Hole, and Michael, who works for Walker’s Crisps in Peterlee, still live at home with their respective parents.
Ashleigh said: “We are a recently engaged couple that would no way be able to afford a wedding any time soon.
“We are saving for our first home together, but the cost of living just makes everything seem unrealistic and a wedding just seems years away.”
Zoe Edmenson and Mark Westmoreland (VOTE 03).
ZOE Edmenson, 31, is hoping all her bad luck is behind her.
Her son Billy Ellis contracted pneumococcal meningitis at six-months-old. He pulled through but has epilepsy and has suffered hundreds of seizures since.
He has also suffered from other health problems including mastoiditis.
Then, Zoe 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 was a single mum until she met her partner Mark Westmoreland, 33, via a social media site.
She said: “I never thought in a million years that anyone would love me and my son enough to take all this extra stress on.”
Deborah Langley and Andrew Mullen (VOTE 04).
ANDREW Mullen, 39, faces a race against time to say “I do” to Deborah Langley, 44, before he is permanently confined to a wheelchair.
Twelve years ago, he was a healthy 27-year-old running his own security firm.
Now he can barely stand and has been diagnosed with degenerative spinal disease, facet joint arthritis, mechanical back pain and nerve damage.
Deborah’s constant support gives him the strength to fight on.
The couple from Lynn Street, Hartlepool, first met through a social media site in 2001.
When Andrew’s health problems started, the couple moved to Hartlepool so Andrew could be nearer the support of his family.
“Despite the ups and downs with my health, Deb has been a rock throughout”, said Andrew.
Amy Lees and Shaun McEvoy (VOTE 05).
LIFE seemed perfect for Amy Lees, 27, and Shaun McEvoy, 29, from the Central Estate area of Hartlepool.
But then their unborn son Ben was found to be suffering from an abnormal double tube linked to one of his kidneys.
Amy, a mental health nurse, said her wedding plans had to be “put on the back burner”.
Ben was born weighing 6lbs 15ozs on April 6, 2010. Since then, he’s had five sets of hospital tests and an operation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle to remove the extra tube, as well as the bottom half of one kidney.
He still needs more follow-up appointments, but Amy added: “He is doing really well.”
Now the couple can turn their attentions to wedding bells once more.
Alison Mullender and Tony McKie (VOTE 06).
A CHANCE online meeting was the start for love to blossom for Alison Mullender, 44, of Catcote Road in Hartlepool, and her fiance Tony McKie, 50, from Jarrow. Alison went on to a social media site and began playing a game of Scrabble with Tony.
But they also began to chat and that first chance “encounter” led to Alison and her future fiance Tony McKie meeting for the first time.
Mother-of-two Alison, who is a full-time carer for her grandmother Hannah Rice, 88, added: “I lost the game but I won in the end because I got Tony.”
They have now been together for nearly two years.
Amanda Parvin and Stephen Newcombe (VOTE 07).
STEPHEN Newcombe, 41, has nominated his fiancee for the Bride of the Year competition – so she can “smile again” after losing her mother.
Amanda Parvin, 38, from Hartlepool, was a constant companion for her mum Pauline when she fought lung cancer in 2009.
Pauline died aged 64 on November 5 that same year and Amanda admitted her world “fell apart.”
Stephen said: “After everything she has been through, I want to show her that there can be some happiness at the end of it.
“It would be my way of proving to Amanda that there can be a good ending to a sad story.”
The couple from Jesmond Gardens first met 23 years ago, but went their separate ways before reuniting, with Stephen proposing in September 2010.
HOW TO VOTE
It’s easy to vote for your favourite by text and phone. The deadline for voting is midnight on Wednesday, April 18. And remember, you can place as many votes as you like, plus you can encourage your friends and family to help collect votes for your favourite.
Every vote will count towards finding our finalists – keep voting!
Simply text HML WED followed by a space then the two-digit vote number for your favourite, followed by a space and then your name, plus house name or number and postcode (max.160 characters) and send to 61500.
For example, HML (space) WED (space) 01 (space) John Smith 1 TS24 8BX – send to 61500
Texts cost 50p plus standard network rates. This will be charged to your mobile phone bill.
Lines close at midnight Wednesday, April 18. Entries received after the closing date will not be counted but may still be charged.
For terms and conditions, plus details about how we may use your information for marketing and how you can opt-out, see our Fair Collection Notice printed on page 2.
Call 0901 3073285 and follow the instructions given, leaving your two-digit vote number.
Call Charges: Calls cost 51p from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may cost more and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more. Lines close at midnight Wednesday, April 18.
Service Provider: JMedia UK Ltd, London, SE1 0QX 0844 8001188.
Terms and conditions:
Standard JP Competition terms and conditions apply. These can be found at www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/compterms Voting lines close at midnight Wednesday, April 18. For terms and conditions, plus details about how we may use your information for marketing and how you can opt-out, see our Fair Collection Notice printed on page 2.
No responsibility can be taken for any votes that are lost or delayed or anything else that prevents votes being received. By entering the promotion, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by the Terms and Conditions. Voting is by text and phone only, and the four finalists will be the entrants with the most votes after the deadline has passed.