TERRIFIED Jason Baldock never thought he would get to marry the woman of his dreams after Donna Bloy was diagnosed with breast cancer as the country went into lockdown.

For months Donna, 33, had to have appointments, undergo treatment and a devastating mastectomy operation on her own because of the pandemic and the couple didn’t know what their future held.

But on Thursday there were only tears of joy as they said, ‘I do’, at an amazing £30,000 ceremony after winning the Sun on Sunday’s Dream Wedding Competition which we launched on Valentine’s Day to mark the ten year anniversary of the marriage of Prince William and his bride Catherine Middleton.

After the ceremony Donna said: “I have just been told that my cancer treatment has finished – and now I am a married woman.  I am so happy. 

"Today has been like a fairytale, a dream come true – we could never have afforded this unless we had won a competition like yours…or the Lottery.

“The hotel is so magical, so beautiful. They have made me feel like a princess  – but so has everyone who has contributed to our wedding. We are so lucky.”  

And this weekend the couple are heading off on honeymoon after Jason, 36, saved coupons for The Sun’s £9.50 holidays. 

They are going to a holiday park in Prestatyn, Wales, with their children Charlie, 13, Bella, five, and three-year-old Ollie.

Jason said: “I saved the coupons and we are going for three days with the kids. We can’t wait.  

“I am so happy and proud to call Donna my wife. There was a terrifying time when I thought she may not survive.

“I can’t thank the Sun on Sunday enough for giving us our dream wedding.”

Nearly 60 million people around the world tuned in to watch William and Kate tie the knot but on Thursday 35 guests were there to see Jason and Donna’s dream wedding at the luxurious Down Hall Hotel, Spa & Estate in Essex.

It boasts historic royal connections, was home to 2020’s Great British Bake Off and has just had a multi-million-pound makeover.

And our Royal photographer Arthur Edwards captured every moment – just as he did for the royal couple themselves.

In the build up to the big day Donna chose her flowers from Cherub’s Florists, picked her stationery from 33 pixels and her dress from exclusive dress company Wed2B.  

She said: “It was my brother Tom who actually picked out my dress.  I had my heart set on one out but he saw this one online and thought it would suit me.  So I tried it on  – and it was perfect.

“Wed2B gave me an amazing day, they made me feel so special  and even included a handwritten note with the dress that made me cry.”

Tom, 28, walked Donna down an aisle formed of pink and ivory rose petals by Cherub’s Florists towards a gazebo on the hotel grounds to Your Song.

Guests struggled to control their emotions as they said their vows under a wooden gazebo framed by two 10ft tall cherry blossom trees that formed a natural arch above them and exchanged rings courtesy of ethical Lebrusan Studio Jewellery.

Down Hall’s Assistant Manager Julie Masters said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we are able to host weddings here again and are getting back to something like normality.

"I am so pleased we could be part of Donna and Jason’s big day and see them so happy after all they have been through.”

At the hotel’s Oxford Suite they were greeted by tables decorated with rose petals, floating candles and favours including personalised gin bottles from personalisation experts M&T Group.

Guests sipped on bubbly from award-winning English vineyard Hattingley Valley and alcohol free fizz from Wildlife Botanicals.

The London Function Band belted out Twist and Shout as the bride and groom entered the room and they ate a three course meal courtesy of the hotel.

But guests gasped when waiter Gavin James Burke fell crashing to the ground as he collected plates.

He grabbed a  microphone to apologise…before bursting into his own rendition of Your Song.

‘Waitress’ Julie Stark then pulled out another microphone and began flirting with male guests as she sang Somebody to Love by Queen.

They were from The Singing Waiter Masters company and minutes later they had the guests up on their feet, swinging  napkins over their heads, singing  Dancing Queen.

James said: “We try to bring the magic to every wedding and it’s extra special when nobody is expecting it. Everyone looked totally blown away.”

Afterwards the couple cut the four tier wedding cake flavoured with strawberry, Prosecco, chocolate, raspberry, white chocolate and vanilla made by Sarah’s Simple Cakes Hertfordshire Ltd.

The seven piece London Function Band – with DJ, starlit dance floor, two tier mirror stage, backstop and lighting – then returned to the stage for the first dance  to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.

Donna’s bridesmaid Louise Brittle, 31, said: “Everything has been perfect – I don’t think I’ve ever seen Donna so happy.

It has been a tough time for the couple, from Burton in Staffordshire, who met online.

When Jason, a technical support engineer for emergency services control, proposed in October 2019 they started planning for a wedding last February but then Donna found a lump while breastfeeding Ollie.

She was told she had stage three breast cancer and an 8cm tumour.

The doctors said they would give her every treatment they could to try and fight it.

In the space of seven months Donna had four rounds of EC chemotherapy and intensive radiotherapy.

She had frequent blood tests and visits to hospital and drugs that left her so ill she couldn’t get out of bed for days.

And each visit had to be made on her own because of the pandemic.

Terrified Jason, who signed up to a Macmillan Cancer Support chat room to gain information and speak to other partners, even had a pink ribbon, the international symbol of breast cancer awareness, tattooed on his chest.

And just a month after diagnosis brave Pirelli account manager Donna set up an Instagram page called @[email protected]_covid_and_me to raise  awareness of breast cancer to save the lives of others.  

She said: “I’ve cried a lot and been scared. Breast cancer is tough, even when you are trying to look on the bright side, I suffered a lot mentally.”

Next month she is having a second and both reconstructions in December – she and Jason are returning to their picturesque wedding venue to celebrate.

Donna said: “And we plan to come back here every Christmas and on our anniversaries.  It is so romantic and will remain such a special place to us, forever.”

And our legendary Royal photographer Arthur Edwards MBE said it was one of the best weddings he has ever taken pictures at.

He said: “I’ve photographed a lot of big weddings and this was honestly up there with the best. The venue was beautiful, the band was out of this world, the singing waiters were simply outstanding and you could see the couple were so in love.

"It was a great day and a pleasure to photograph. I had such a good time I even had a dance with the mother of the bride.”.


  • VENUE – www.downhall.co.uk
  • CAKE -www.sarahssimplecakes.co.uk
  • DRESSES – www.wed2b.com
  • FLOWERS – www.cherubsflorists.co.uk
  • FAVOURS – www.mandtgroup.co.uk
  • STATIONERY www.33pixels.co.uk
  • SINGERS – www.thesingingwaitermasters.co.uk
  • BAND – www.thelondonfunctionband.com
  • RINGS – www.lebrusanstudio.com
  • ALCOHOL-FREE FIZZ – www.wildlifebotanicals.co.uk
  • FIZZ – https://hattingleyvalley.com/
  • FACIAL – @sadaf_jaffari  

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