Finedon vicar Richard Coles takes Strictly break to visit dying friend

Mick and Mandy Bryant with son Nathan Bryant and Rev Richard Coles.
Mick and Mandy Bryant with son Nathan Bryant and Rev Richard Coles.

The Rev Richard Coles took an emotional break from Strictly Come Dancing to visit a close friend as she lay on her deathbed.

The dancing Finedon preacher posed for pictures as he renewed the wedding vows of long-term friends and former neighbours Mandy Bryant and her husband Mick.

The couple were visited by Mr Coles who dropped in to see cancer patient Mandy at Butterfly Hospice, Boston, Lincolnshire, on September 24.

Mr Coles performed a heart-warming wedding renewal ceremony for the couple who he befriended 12 years ago.

The couple’s son Nathan, 21, said: “Mum and dad wanted to renew their wedding vows next year to mark their 25th wedding anniversary, but after being told their time together was now short, we took steps to bring the occasion forward.

“Mum was admitted into the hospice with days left and I asked Richard to renew their vows quickly.

“Richard was only too obliging, having been a family friend for more than 12 years.”

The couple became friends with Mr Coles during his time as a curate in the town, and he had supported the family after firefighter Mick, 52, had a stroke in 2005.

Tragically, former receptionist Mandy died four days after the visit (September 28) after her four-year battle with breast and liver cancer.

Nathan added: “Richard has always been considered a special friend of the family, and we’re so grateful for his compassion and support, finding time to come and support the family in our time of need, whilst he’s got a full schedule with Strictly and his ministry duties.”

“There was a lovely moment when Richard gave us a demonstration of his dance moves in the room for mum.

“He joked that he had two left feet and needed more practice.

“Surrounded by friends and family he renewed their vows.

“I’ll never forget the smile on mum’s and dad’s faces.”

Nathan paid tribute to the support she received from the hospice during her time there.

He said: “The hospice was amazing and so caring and supportive.

“I cannot fault the support they have given mum during her final week.”