Archive for February 3, 2013

The worthy winners of my vintage ice cream experience

Back in August I set a competition so that a lucky couple could win a vintage style ice cream experience for their special day. The couple with the most heart warming and interesting story would win the coveted prize. Here is Tara and Matt’s amazing story, I’m sure you will agree they are rightful winners.

“My name is Tara Donoghue and the name of my fiance is Matthew Oliver and we are getting married in August 2013 at Stonewall Manor, Frome.

So let’s start at the beginning… Matt and I first met in 2004 when I got my first job after university working in London as a runner on Strictly Come Dancing and Matt was my boss (oo-er). Our first conversation was Matt explaining in great detail exactly what kitchen towel holders he wanted and sending me out a fair few times before I got the right ones. It would be fair to say that I wasn’t overly impressed at the time but over those few stressful months filled with glitter, fancy footwork and an awful lot of real work, a firm friendship was formed and we eventually become best buddies. While it was a few years before we actually got together, we feel many of our friends would agree that it was inevitable and was, in fact, our density!
Since getting together in August in 2008, we’ve had a pretty amazing few years making up for lost time which have included learning how to skiing Slovenia (and even more amazingly, me managing not to break anything on the slopes), yearly trips to Glastonbury music festival with lots of bad dancing in our wellies drinking hot spiced cider and most excitingly a month-long road trip down the east coast of America driving from Boston to Miami via a few random landmarks.Life at this point seemed pretty great. We decided to buy a flat together and I had been accepted onto a teaching course and waste-training as a primary school teacher with Matt supporting me.

Unfortunately at this point, I suddenly became quite ill. In 2006, I had a kidney transplant with a kidney donated from my Dad but in 2011, it started to fail. This made life quite hard as my health deteriorated but Matt was brilliant and supported me all the way as I completed my teacher-training despite being very poorly and having to frequently be admitted into hospital. Eventually I had to start 5 hour dialysis sessions 3 times a week at the same time as getting my first teaching job. But despite all the support I was getting from Matt, my school and my doctors, my health was getting worse and I desperately needed a new kidney.

Luckily my amazing younger sister Ami put herself forward to give me a new kidney At her first appointment, the doctors said that genetically,she was a perfect match but that in order for her to be able to donate she would have to lose 3 stone. Without any hesitation or fuss that’s exactly what she did and she set herself the challenge of running a 10k race in order to help her lose weight. Both Ami and Matt (who ran the race with her) managed to raise £1,872.45 for the national kidney federation. On the 19th of December 2012, we were both admitted to Guy’s Hospital (me with a broken arm – I’m quite clumsy) and Ami successfully donated her kidney to me. I can’t stress enough quite how brilliant Ami is or even begin to express how grateful I am to have such a fantastic sister, family and partner who have supported me throughout my illness.

While I was in recovery after Christmas, Matt sort of proposed by accident. He claims he was planning this big romantic proposal but instead he sort of got carried away and blurted it out! It wasn’t exactly what you’d call a classic proposal. I was cleaning and Matt was swearing at an essay he was writing. I then managed to drop a box on my head (don’t ask) so sat down to have a whimper and Matt tended my poorly bonce. Then Matt said ‘Oh do you know that Westminster Registry Office is closing down in August?’ – At this point I apparently looked really sad and said ‘Oh, that’s a shame as I always wanted to get married there as that’s where my Nan and granddad got married’ … Matt then blurted out – well shall we get married then?!After several ‘Are you serious?’ and ‘Was that really a proposal??’ I said yes and here we are.

We had to move fairly quickly due to the registry office closing down pretty soon, but we both wanted to have a larger celebration in the country with our family and friends and so we have booked Stonewall Manor, a wonderful Tudor Manor house in Frome for what we see as our actual wedding as the registry office will only be with immediate family.We’re planning a ‘mini festival’ type wedding with lots of fun,games, dancing and general merriment and hopefully, some ice cream served by your smartly dressed attendant ;-) I’m having my sister and her two daughters aged 7 and 3 as my bridesmaids as I wanted to be able to thank them for everything that they’ve done for me. We both want this gathering to mark the end of what’s been a tough couple of years and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together. “