A GROOM-TO-BE — who is going blind — is desperate to have the wedding of his dreams before he completely loses his sight.
Steven Howarth was born with very bad eyesight and, despite pioneering treatment six years ago to save his vision, still faces the prospect of losing his sight altogether.
Having become engaged to fiancée Sarah Hardy while on holiday in Mexico last year, Mr Howarth is desperate to tie the knot as soon as possible, so he can enjoy the day with his current vision.
But the couple face several years of saving up if they are to wed at their dream venue of choice, the Cresta Court Hotel in Miss Hardy’s home town of Altrincham.
By this time it could be too late for Mr Howarth, who is currently unemployed having struggled to find work.
The couple, both aged 24, have renewed hope, though, in the form of a competition to win a wedding at the Cresta, which they picked as their favourite venue after visiting several.
Following an interview, they have been selected as one of six couples to compete for the grand prize, with the winner chosen by a public vote.
The pair’s love story began two years ago after they started talking online.
Mr Howarth, who was born in Jersey but brought up in Westhoughton after moving to the town as a baby, said they clicked straight away when they first met up in Manchester.
He added: “I never used websites but I had been single for a while and within five minutes I started talking to Sarah.
“We went to the cinema and had some tea in Manchester soon after and got on really well.
“Last year we went to Mexico on holiday and I decided to pop the question there as it seemed near perfect.”
Mr Howarth was born with a rare inherited condition, which left him with very poor vision and unable to see at all in the dark.
In 2008, aged just 18, he went to Moorfields Hospital in London to take part in a clinical trial.
Doctors injected healthy genes into his eyes to correct the faults.
He says this made a big difference initially but that his eyesight has deteriorated again since then.
His condition, Leber's congential amaurosis (LCA), affects about one in 100,000 people, and If Mr Howarth has any children, there is a strong possibility they will also suffer from it.
Mr Howarth’s mum Adalaida, who lives in Fairhaven Avenue, Westhoughton, said she would be “so proud” to see her son get married and urged people to show their support.
She added: “They both want to get married as soon as they can because of Steven’s eyes but the price would mean they would have to save up for a while.
“The treatment has slowed the degeneration down but he obviously wants to get married before his vision is gone completely.
“I would be so proud and it would be nice to see.
“I’ve been ringing round everybody I know asking them to vote and staff at Moorfields have told me they’ve voted as well.” If the pair win the competition, they will be given a date To help Mr Howarth and Miss Hardy realise their dream, text “cresta 0301” to 80360. Texts cost 50p and the closing date for voting is May 12 .