Joy, tragedy, and a whirlwind 10 years - the Hartlepool woman who married on the same day as Kate and William
A Hartlepool woman has praised her amazing family after a whirlwind 10 years of joy and tragedy since she married on the same day as Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Hollie Sorelle McCully and husband Paul’s rollercoaster decade has included the arrival of their wonderful son Foxx, now three.
Then they lost their precious baby boy Ever-Lake when he was an hour old.
Hollie looked back on her 10th wedding anniversary and paid tribute to everyone who has supported her including her family and the people of Hartlepool who have sent her and Paul so much love.
Hollie, then 23, tied the knot with Paul McCully, 30, in Paul’s family church in Ballymena, County Antrim.
Hollie’s close friends travelled from Chicago, Dubai and Spain as well as Hartlepool. She remembered how she was delighted that there was a Bank Holiday because it meant family could spend more time together.
Their lives became even more joyful when Foxx was born three years ago. ‘He is such a character,” said Hollie who runs dance schools with her mum, Val Armstrong, in towns including Hartlepool and South Shields.
"We had IVF for a long time and Foxx was a little miracle on try four.”
Hollie and Paul tried for a second child but the 20-week scan in November 2020 showed their “precious warrior” Ever-Lake had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia which affects one in 2,500 cases. It meant organs including his lungs could not fully form.
He was born nine weeks early in February 2021 but only lived for an hour.
Hollie praised medical staff at both the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, and the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, for their “amazing” support.
The loss of Ever-Lake drove her to do everything she could to help CDH-UK – the Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Charity – which supported her and Paul every step of the way.
"I didn’t even realise CDH was a thing before all of this,” said Hollie. “Now, there is nothing I don’t know about it and we are pushing towards supporting the charity.”
Hollie set up a fundraising page and it has already had £2,112 in donations - 211 per cent of the original target.
She also praised people in Hartlepool, including some she hadn’t spoken to since her primary school days, for being there for her after her loss.
She added: "They were unbelievable and the way the town has rallied round has been incredible. I could not believe it.”
Hollie reflected on the past decade and said: “It makes you realise what you have got and we are thankful for it. We know not to take anything for granted, ever.
"Paul and I are stronger than ever and we have got Foxx who is a blessing. He is the reason we get up in the morning.”
Baby Ever-Lake is also remembered in another special way.
Hollie explained: “I have started up a new dance group in Ever-Lake’s memory and it is teaching babies from six months old in Hartlepool.
"We have already got waiting lists for classes.”
People can still support the appeal by searching for In Memory of Ever-lake Mccully at www.cdhuk.enthuse.com/