A COUPLE'S big day was made complete after their sick infant son was able to join their nuptials.

Neo-natal staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital stepped in to ensure baby Joseph could be a part of Alex and Frances Smith's wedding day.

Little Joseph was a patient at the hospital's neo-natal unit and wasn’t well enough to travel for the ceremony.

But after the service, neo-natal staff made the couple's day complete by arranging a special visit for the Smiths.

The couple had already been forced to postpone their wedding a number of times due to Covid-19.

Joseph's cot had been decorated with balloons and a home-made banner and the tot was dressed in his own wedding outfit.

Later Alex and Frances said: “It was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions on the neo-natal unit, due to the balancing act that is keeping these fragile babies alive.

“But we met some lovely staff who, despite their immense workload, showed genuine care and compassion for Joseph and for our situation.

“We are grateful that they took the time to celebrate life events and milestones with us, which brought normality to quite an abnormal situation.”

Patricia Lindley, a senior neo-natal nurse, said: "We also gifted the newlyweds with a card, which had Joseph’s handprints in it and a wedding book from the whole of the unit.

“Alex and Frances didn’t expect it at all. They were really emotional and extremely grateful for the surprise.”

After 150 days in the neo-natal unit, Joseph was able to go home with his parents and they are grateful to the staff for everything that they did for them.

Patricia, who has worked as a neo-natal nurse since 1988 and joined Bolton NHS Foundation Trust in 2011, was helped by nurses Rebecca Wynn, Susannah Smith and ward clerk, Lindsay Sargeant with the wedding surprise.

She added: “I’m very proud of what I do. Watching babies getting stronger day by day and helping families create memories is very rewarding.

“I love seeing the progress and following their journey to going home.”