A couple who were forced to put their marriage on hold twice were left speechless when they discovered they’d finally be able to tie the knot for free.
Sonya Keating and Paul Brough, from Liverpool, won the wedding of their dreams thanks to ITV’s ‘This Morning’.
The childhood sweethearts were due to marry years ago, however money struggles prevented that from happening.
In 2016, and still determined to marry the love of his life, Paul got down on one knee again but it wasn’t to be as he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) shortly after and their wedding plans were put on hold for a second time.
The pair’s dream finally came true on 16 May when they received a surprise call from Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby letting them know they’d be getting married this year - without having to organise, or pay for, a thing.
Their wedding will be aired live on TV later this year.
Before the big reveal, Holly said: “This is one of my favourite parts [to do]… we will surprise a very deserving couple. They are both at home and have no idea they’ll be on the telly soon, Paul has been diagnosed with MS and is desperate to walk his fiancée Sonya down the aisle before his condition worsens.”
Phillip added: “They think our team are there for a bit of a research chat, but we are actually going to tell them live on air that they are getting married and that we’re going to sort it all for them.”
The pair were sat in their Liverpool home when the TV hosts broke the news to them.
“Thank you so much,” said Paul, while his wife-to-be put her hands to her face, overcome with emotion.
“Oh my God, thank you,” she said, before sobbing into her fiancé’s shoulder.
The couple met when they were three years old and lived next door to one another. When they were 21, they fell in love.
Sonya had a daughter, Natasha, from a previous relationship and Paul quickly became a father figure to her.
Shortly after they got together, Paul proposed but the couple struggled to find the time or money to get married.
Their son, James, arrived years later and on Sonya’s 40th birthday, Paul got down on one knee for the second time, determined to finally make it down the aisle.
But sadly it wasn’t to be as months later (in 2016) he was diagnosed with MS and their wedding plans were put on hold again.
MS is a neurological condition which affects the nerves. It’s caused when the immune system doesn’t work properly.
Struggling with the debilitating condition and realising there was no time like the present, the couple got in touch with ‘This Morning’ in a bid to finally have their dream wedding.
In response to the incredible news, Sonya said: “You’ve just made all our dreams come true in the last twenty seconds.”
Paul added: “Everything that we’ve been hoping for has just come true. I don’t know how to thank you.”
ITV will now organise the couple’s wedding, taking the pressure off them financially and emotionally.
When asked how it felt to be able to sit back and relax, knowing everything would be taken care of, Sonya said: “I need to come down off cloud nine, I’m just in shock. I can’t believe it.
“We’re actually going to do it, we’re actually going to get married!.