HEART transplant patient Ian Wilson desperately needs to find a donor — so he can marry his childhood sweetheart in a fairytale wedding.
His bride-to-be Lyn McQuade, 21, entered The Scottish Sun’s National Trust wedding competition for the chance to tie the knot in her dream Scottish castle – and scooped the incredible prize.
The couple, from Glasgow, hope to wed next year as brave Ian prays he will soon be given a new heart.
Ian, who has spent the last seven months in hospital, had no idea Lyn had entered the contest until she told him they’d won.
Elated Ian said: “The first thing I said was ‘Are you joking?’.
“It was a complete surprise, it was really nice to get some good news.
“I’d got the ring in September and I wanted to go on holiday at the end of the year to propose but by Christmas time things had taken a bad turn.
“On January 12 I was in here and was told they wouldn’t be letting me back out.
“Winning this is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”
sAfter health problems got in the way off his proposal plans, Ian decided to go ahead and propose in the hospitalThe couple, who have been dating since Ian asked Lyn to prom aged 17, got engaged just two weeks before our competition launched.
Ian, born with a rare heart defect, got down on one knee at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle — where he is currently a patient — on the day of their four-year anniversary.
The hopeless romantic even hid his fiancée’s engagement ring in his medication box before getting the doctors and nurses in on the surprise proposal on June 9.
Student nurse Lyn said: “I go to all his appointments with him and in January this year we were told his heart was failing and that he’d need a transplant.
“He was put on the urgency list. It hit us really hard because we went to uni together, we lived together and my family absolutely adore him.
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“I went to see him at the hospital, where he’s waiting for a transplant, on our anniversary.
“He can still walk about the hospital despite being an inpatient and he suggested we go get some dinner when I went to see him in June.
“He told me there was an office upstairs and that the nurses and staff were happy for us to eat there.
“Staff had put fairy lights along the wall and up on the ceiling and had put rose petals all along the floor and candles everywhere.
“I thought it was just for our anniversary. He got down on one knee and had got permission from my family and everything.
“When I got back to the ward the doctors and nurses were congratulating us.
“They had even helped him to hide the engagement ring in the medication boxes.
“Being a student nurse I always tried to get involved with his medication, but they were suddenly not happy about me helping this time, I was wondering why and it was so I didn’t see the ring!” The pair have known each other since primary school but grew closer while they studied at Springburn Academy in Glasgow.
Eventually Ian plucked up the courage to invite Lyn to prom and their romance blossomed.
Lyn said this is the longest they’ve ever been apart with Ian now being treated in Newcastle as they previously lived together and both studied at Caledonian University.
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She said: “He’s like my best friend and to have somebody so close to you taken away so quickly was hard.
“It sounds really clichéd, but I knew he was going to be my husband from the start.
“After the prom we went on another date the next day and we’ve been inseparable ever since.”
Now on the urgency list, Ian faces a race against time to have a heart transplant. Medics hope to find him a donor within the next two months.
But he faced a further blow when he heard about the death of a friend who failed to find a donor this year.
Ian said: “One of my friends who eventually came down to Newcastle for a heart transplant didn’t last.
“He passed away before getting the chance to go back to Scotland.
“He’d been waiting on a heart transplant and all he wanted was to get back to see his girlfriend in Scotland — the exact same as me.
“I wouldn’t have made it through the last few years without Lyn, so I wanted her to know how I felt just in case something bad happened.”
Nursing student Lyn, who is two months away from graduating, feared the couple wouldn’t be able to afford their dream wedding as Ian has been left too unwell to work.
But she is delighted they will now be able to marry at luxury Ayrshire venue Culzean Castle.
Delighted Lyn said: “We still don’t believe it’s real.
“We are hoping to get married next year because it takes a month or two for his heart to recover and it means he could be back at uni after that.
“Everytime the phone goes I’m hoping it’s Ian telling me that he’s got his heart.
“They hope it’s either this month or next month that he should have it.
“It’s been such a terrible year for both of us and because this has been my last year at uni it’s been a real struggle.
“I honestly can’t say how grateful I am to have won this – it’s a dream come true.”
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Mark Bishop, National Trust for Scotland’s Director of Customer and Cause, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer Lyn and Ian such a wonderful wedding venue, especially since they are going through such a tough time.
“Culzean Castle is a fairytale wedding setting and I’m sure they’ll have a day to remember.”
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