If you keep up to date with our newsletters and our Instagram page then you’ll already be aware that Iscoyd owner Phil’s sister Marina married at Iscoyd in June this year. She said “I do” to her lovely husband Jimmy under blue skies at nearby St Mary’s Whitewell before decamping back to Iscoyd for the celebrations in the sunshine. We’ll be sharing more from this wonderful day very soon here on the Iscoyd blog so please keep your eyes peeled for an update in the next few weeks.
Perhaps less well known is that the run up to Marina and Jimmy’s wedding was a feat of endurance for Marina’s father, John, and one we’re happy to say concluded rather happily. One of the many ingredients that goes into making a wedding, is of course the speeches. Whether they take place outside during the drinks reception, before the wedding breakfast or following pudding, or even a combination of all three, there is an expectation that they will at some point take place over the course of the celebrations.
Those of you who have given a speech in public will be familiar with the incredible amount of time and effort that goes into making it. A dash of humour, a dollop of sentimentality, the careful balancing act of keeping the performance captivating whilst not outstaying your welcome. It’s fair to say that there is much to think about; for most of us this is where the mitigating factors begin and end. We assume for example that once these considerations have been taken into account, the speech is a done deal.
Not so for John…
John had his voice box removed in a lifesaving operation after being diagnosed with cancer of the vocal cords in 2020. After noticing that that something was not right with his voice in March 2020, John sought medical advice and after many trips to the ENT Clinic, biopsies taken and lasering, and it became clear that it was “something sinister.” In October 2020, John was diagnosed with cancer of the vocal cords.
By May 2022, it had become clear that the radiotherapy had not worked. The next step meant that John had to undergo surgery to remove the mass from his throat. A partial laryngectomy to remove a section of his voice box was scheduled for July 2022 but on operating, the surgeons realised that nothing could be left behind.
When John awoke after the surgery, the news was broken to him that he had lost all of his voice box. He said: “It was something I just had to get on with. Unable to speak, John relied on a white board and pen to communicate until a prosthetic device was fitted later that year in October. John said: “The act of speaking with a prosthesis depends on an intake of breath then to press the cassette clipped to the front of the stoma to prevent air escaping and then speaking as long as ones’ outgoing breath lasts through the device.”
“Therefore, there are time gaps which means that it takes longer to string sentences together and in conversation with others you can get left behind. At no time does the act of speaking hurt but it can be frustrating especially when on occasions the sound is somehow blocked presumably to do with the valve mechanism when it might need cleaning.”
When Marina announced her engagement to Jimmy in December 2022, the subject of speeches came up quite quickly. Marina wanted her father to speak at her wedding and with a last minute cancellation at Iscoyd in June 2023 meant that John had just six months to strengthen his voice and prepare for the big event.
“I was nervous but also excited to give the speech for my daughter’s wedding. I had speech therapy in the lead up to the day and I knew it was important to her, so I wanted to be prepared.”
Ably assisted by his son Rupert, John was able to deliver his much anticipated speech for Marina on her wedding day. John said “we divided the speech up into parts. We joke about it being a poor man’s Michael and Jack Whitehall as our age differences are very similar.” and it was received with raucous applause.
John said: “I have never in my life had a standing ovation before. It was overwhelming. It was a very special moment and I’m very pleased that I was able to do the speech for my daughter’s important day. I have fully recovered now and I just hope my cancer doesn’t return.”
We think you’ll agree that this is truly a wedding speech like no other; what a wonderful miraculous story. We’re sure that you’ll all join us in wishing John all the best for the future.
Find out more about Weddings at Iscoyd Park
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Iscoyd Park has been in the Godsal family since 1843, Phil and Susie Godsal took over the running of the house in 2009 and began a much needed restoration project. They live in the house today with their three children and run it both as a wedding and events venue and a family home. Find out more about us.
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