ACT News

'Overwhelming moment': hospital corridor becomes wedding aisle

A busy corridor at the Canberra Hospital was transformed into a wedding aisle on Wednesday evening so a stoic father could walk his daughter to her husband-to-be.

Like many daughters, Kate Gibson always dreamed of walking down the aisle on her father's arm but feared a cruel accident would rob her of the chance.  

Malcolm Gibson with his daughter Kate before her wedding at the Canberra Hospital.
Malcolm Gibson with his daughter Kate before her wedding at the Canberra Hospital. Photo: Rohan Thomson

In December, her father Malcolm suffered a serious fall which left him in the intensive care unit with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

"It was a pure accident. He slipped at home and hit his head on the tiles and had a very heavy bleed – it was a very severe injury," she said.

"He had to have part of his skull removed to reduce the pressure on his brain and for a while it was touch and go as to whether he would make it."

Until Monday, Mr Gibson was not able to walk but nursing staff said he was determined to build enough strength to stand before his daughter at her wedding.


But when his daughter,  an anesthesiologist at the hospital,  learned he would not be able to witness her marriage to 33-year-old Andrew Powell, she sprang into action.

Ms Gibson lobbied the hospital to let her father leave his bed and walk her through the corridors to an intimate ceremony in the gardens.

"He has made an incredible recovery as last week he was barely able to stand up," she said.

"He is definitely still improving and we are hopeful that he will make a full recovery."

Sitting patiently at the end of a long hospital corridor, Mr Gibson smiled as his daughter approached him dressed in her wedding gown.

As she got closer, he ignored the warnings of attentive nurses and stood before his daughter taking off his hat and bowing to welcome her.

"It was just amazing walking down the corridor and seeing him waiting for me – it was an incredible feeling," said the bride-to-be.

Mr Gibson, who still has a part of his skull removed, walked down the aisle with a black helmet to protect his head from further damage should he lose balance.

The Canberra Hospital holds a special place in the Gibson family beyond the makeshift garden ceremony.

"My mum Jenelle has also worked here as a nurse for 36 years and I was born here too, studied here, and now work here," Ms Gibson said.

A larger wedding will be held on Saturday for friends and extended family, although the intimate ceremony will not be forgotten easily.

Ms Gibson thanked everyone who ensured a small corner of her workplace could host the occasion.

"Everyone has been absolutely fabulous including the nursing staff, the physiotherapists and the social staff who have rallied to organise this," she said.

"It was an overwhelming moment."