A woman finally married the love of her life after narrowly escaping death as she battled against cancer.

Madeleine Wickett, 64, from Althorne, was told she had just hours to live when she had a catastrophic reaction to treatment for ovarian cancer.

Daughter Melissa, 33, was preparing to say goodbye to her mother as she received end-of-life care.

While Melissa was “waiting for her heart to stop”, somehow Madeleine began to recover against all the odds.

She said: “The doctors and nurses kept calling Mum an enigma, saying ‘we’ve not seen this before’.

“It was a rollercoaster of emotions.

“We slept by Mum’s hospital bed for three solid weeks and I think I cried more in those three weeks than I’ve ever cried in my entire life.”

Following the horror of her treatment, Madeleine decided she wanted to marry partner of 24 years, Ray.

Recalling the moment she proposed, Madeleine said: “I phoned Ray up one day and said ‘Hello darling, just a quickie — yes or no — will you marry me? He said yes and I said ‘Thanks, darling’ and put the phone down.”

The date and venue were set and preparations begun but Madeleine was afraid she would not be strong enough to walk down the aisle on her special day.

She went to the Red Cross mobility service, in Maldon, which loaned her a wheelchair to make sure he wedding could go ahead as she wanted.

Madeleine said: “I didn’t have much strength. I couldn’t get out, I couldn’t move my legs, I couldn’t even get to the front door.

“That’s where the Red Cross came in. That wheelchair was a godsend.

“At the wedding I was sitting in my chair just watching everyone because it felt as if it was happening to someone else and not me.”

Melissa added: “The wheelchair took a lot of pressure off.

“Mum wouldn’t have been able to do it without it.”

Madeleine was thankful she had her daughter and now husband with her throughout her treatment, and said without that she may not have recovered.

She said: “I want to let other people know not to give up because they’re fighting the biggest battles of their lives. My mother was a strong woman so I think I get my strength from my mum.”