Queen’s Birthday Honour for Sidmouth born Naomi

Naomi and her husband Graham and son Devon at their recent Vow Renewal which they do each year on th

Naomi and her husband Graham and son Devon at their recent Vow Renewal which they do each year on their wedding anniversary. Image by Tara Statton Photography - Credit: Archant

A terminally ill mum who works 80 hours a week has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her efforts to help couples affected by life-limiting illnesses have their dream nuptials.

Sidmouth-born Naomi Thomas was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list today (Friday) for her work with the Wedding Wishing Well Foundation, despite battling incurable breast cancer herself.

The mother-of-one set up the charity in 2012 to help couples create ‘lasting and wonderful memories’ and has spoken of her shock to receive the honour.

Naomi, who is mum to five-year-old Devon, said: “I plough 80 hours a week into the charity because, for me, there’s nothing more special than the look a couple exchange as they say their vows. To know that we’ve played a part in their wedding day is absolutely everything to me.

“Cancer doesn’t just affect your health, but also puts a strain on every other aspect of your life – and the lives of those around you.”

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Shortly before setting up the charity, Naomi and husband Graham were helped by a local wedding planner and suppliers to make their dream day a reality following Naomi’s diagnosis in 2010.

She said: “Every penny we had went towards Graham and I taking time away from work for my treatment, and our lives were always on hold while we waited for the next appointment, the next prognosis. Planning something as huge as a wedding is impossible when you’re living with such uncertainty.

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“We were blown away by the generosity shown to us in the lead up to our wedding, on the day itself, and every day since. There and then I knew I wanted to help those like us; the couples that desperately want to marry before it’s too late.

“To be able to afford these special people such joy during their darkest days is so important. For some, it will be the last time their families come together in happiness, but for all, it is a chance to create lasting, wonderful memories.”

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