ON April 17, on the same afternoon as Prince Philip’s funeral, a few family and friends witnessed a life-giving moment of joy in a home in Burley-in-Wharfedale.

It is not so remarkable to get married, even in these days of huge restriction, but to get married at home is certainly unusual.

Alan Plews and Netta Hefford have been together for the last twenty years. Netta, who had moved from Northamptonshire, nursed at Scalebor Park from 1971 until its closure after gaining promotion as a ward sister.

Alan was born in Kent and worked in the mining industry until pit closures led to a change in career to kitchen fitting. Moving to Yorkshire to continue with his work he fitted a kitchen for Netta - the rest is history as the saying goes.

Twenty years on, sadly Netta has weeks to live, battling courageously against terminal cancer.

The Rev Alastair Kirk, Vicar of Burley said: “At Easter, Alan called me and asked whether they could get married. Normally a straight-forward request, but marrying Alan and Netta at very short notice and at home was not the easiest of tasks.

“A week later, with permissions granted from the Archbishop’s office for a special licence and we were ready to go.

“It was a well-kept secret up until the last moment. Netta, though clearly ill, thoroughly engaged with the whole experience.”

Close friends (and official witnesses), Brian and Kath said: “The week leading up to the ceremony was the happiest that we had seen her for many years – excited and exhilarated by the whole process.’’

The Rev Alastair Kirk added: “Netta managed to get downstairs, Alan and Nett’s close friends had supported her to look fantastic, and I conducted a simple but deeply profound marriage ceremony in their dining room, while six friends and family witnessed from the well-ventilated conservatory.

“It was a privilege to bring the Good News of God’s love into such a place of vulnerability. It will be remembered by all of us who were there as a precious and joyful moment.”