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Till death us do part

Reporter: Alex Carey
Date online: 08 April 2014

THIS is the touching moment terminally-ill Richard Byram and his partner Cliff Leech tied the knot in Oldham’s first same-sex wedding.

There wasn’t a dry eye when Richard (42) and Cliff (58), who both live in Oldham, said their vows yesterday at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice to take the surname Byram-Leech.

The couple had planned to marry on July 5, but as Richard’s health continues to deteriorate they decided to bring the wedding forward and hold it at the hospice, which is caring for Richard, who suffers from lung cancer.

The two have been inseparable since they met in Blackpool more than 23 years ago, Cliff from Manchester and Richard from Carnforth.

Cliff said: “When Richard was diagnosed we said straight away we should get married. It seemed fitting to get married, given the circumstances.”

The couple ended up in Oldham because Holts estate was the only area in which they could find suitable house 20 years ago. They have lived there ever since.

Richard was diagnosed with cancer in October.

Though the Chronicle reported last week that Greater Manchester’s first same-sex marriage was to be Oldham women Natalie Brophy and Tracy Wild - who wed today - Cliff sprung into action on Sunday and planned he and Richard’s big day in hours so they could be first.

Natalie said: “I’m really happy for them. It’s obviously happy and sad at the same time for them, but it’s great they have managed to do it.”

New laws came into force at the end of last month making same-sex marriage legal and friends and family from across the country came to celebrate the union of the two men. Cliff said: “We were never in any kind of rush to be the first gay married couple in the area — it just happened this way.”

Friends, family and hospice staff packed the service room at Dr Kershaw’s as the song “Unchained Melody” played. The ceremony was conducted by Oldham registrar Bridget Gent.


Another body-blow to the scourge of bigotry and intolerance (religious and secular).

How is it in any way a body blow Shaun? Let me tell you that in Egypt 4 gay man have been jailed. In Doha where the world cup will be held gay people have been told not to travel there. In Saudi Arabia teenagers are regularly hanged in public for being gay.

At Manchester University a meeting of Muslim women declared that gay people should be murdered and the students union decided to take action against the man who exposed it for covert recording !

Such an amazing couple, congratulations xxxxx

Where did that ridiculous comment come from, Shaun. There is nothing within this story that displays bigotry and intolerance yet you decide to hijack to suit your own agenda. This was a moment for this couple to celebrate and you had to ruin it. Well done.

How shameful that you should be using this kind of article to promote your own agenda shaun.

Maybe not a knockout blow, Flake, but every punch counts (figuratively speaking).

And what 'agenda' would that be, Ernie? Please enlighten me.

Mikejh45, should be fairly obviously (certainly to the majority of people, anyway) that I wasn't referencing anything within the article, but merely acknowledging the bigotry and intolerance that exists towards such unions.

@Flake I don't think for one minute shaun McGrath was putting any bad light on this couples day, but merely pointing out that some of our local community would be supporting some of the comments you posted.

No Shaun every punch just makes the monster more angry!
Did you not hear the archbishop of Canterbury explain that the decisions made in England are costing Christians their lives in foreign countries.
Who do you think is attacking them Shaun? It's not an easy question given the bias of the BBC which staunchly refuses to broadcast the truth, but it doesn't take much imagination.

I must be thick, I thought Shaun was simply saying the new act, and brave people such as these, were delivering a body blow to those people against same sex weddings. If that is the case, surely he is supporting them, not spoiling their day. Live and let live is what I say, life is way too short. Sorry Flake, I disagree completely. Christians don't lose their lives because of couples such as these. They lose their lives because we stick our noses in to things that have nothing to do with us.


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