How this Sheffield couple met through their shared pain of losing someone to cancer
When Stanley and Janet both lost their respected partners to cancer, their worlds fell apart.
But little did they know when they sat next to each other as complete strangers at a special bereavement course they would end up finding love.
Their incredible journey to become husband and wife started in the most painful of circumstances.
Stanley, aged 59, lost his wife Dot of 36 years and Janet, 46, lost her husband Steve after 19 years together. Each lost their loved ones in just 13 days of each other.
The couple both attended Weston Park Cancer Support Centre in late 2014 and helped each other through their pain.
Their relationship blossomed and Stanley got down on one knee and asked Janet to marry him and they tied the knot.
And the now Mr and Mrs Hirst, from Woodthorpe, were back at the centre showing staff their wedding photos.
“It was just by chance this all happened really,” Stanley said.
“I came up a few days before the course started and poured my heart out to Vicky, the senior support nurse. There were a lot of tears and I agreed I should go on the course.
“I walked in before it started and Janet was the first there and they actually sat us together. We started talking straight away.
“You never think in a million years something like this could happen to us, it’s incredible really.”
They began getting to know each other on the course and soon found comfort in each other’s pain.
“When you lose someone like we did you do think you’ll have a life on your own,” Janet said.
“With all that, we had all the guilt and denial because we never thought we’d love somebody again or want to love somebody again.
“It’s not something either of us expected.”
Stanley took the plunge and asked Janet to marry him at Padley Gorge in the Peak District in November 2015 and were married the following October – two years after they first met.
He said: “We did chat about it for a bit beforehand – we had the families to think about. But we thought life is for living and we wanted to take things further.”
Janet added: “I feel so lucky to have loved two people in one lifetime.”
The pair married at Sheffield register office attended by family and friends before heading off to the Chimney House on Kelham Island and the Harland Café on Bramall Lane.
The pair, who love walking and are both big Sheffield United fans, praised the course which brought them together.
“Weston Park is absolutely amazing and the staff are out of this world but for the both of us. It holds such difficult memories but there is this little haven in this place that’s supported the both of us and made us feel so supported,” Janet said.
“You are desperate in some respects, your life is shot and the bottom falls out of your world when something like this happens.”
Stanley added: “The course itself is amazing. I was the first to speak and I’ll never forget it. I couldn’t breathe, It was so difficult to try to find the words. Vicky and the group were great we all supported each other.”
It’s an incredible service that’s helped both me and Janet and without it, I’d have never have met her.”
Weston Park Cancer Support Centre, a drop-in centre, so no appointment is needed, provides information, advice and support for cancer anyone affected by cancer across Sheffield, South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, in a relaxed environment.