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Issue Date:- 16 June 2008

Staff and patients celebrate 1st wedding at hospital

PATIENTS and staff alike were celebrating earlier this week, when Sean Pinnington (47) and his fiancée Teresa McGhee (38) both from Birchwood, Warrington were married at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport hospital.

This was the 1st ever wedding to be carried out at the hospital.  Sean has been a patient at the Spinal Injuries Centre since 12 February following a motorcycle accident in January that left him with his back broken in 2 places and paralysed from the chest down.  "We had been planning on getting married soon, and it seemed appropriate to try to arrange the ceremony at the Centre.

The accident became a pivotal point in our life, when things as we knew them changed forever, and a marriage is a similar turning point." said Sean.

The couple met more than 20 years ago when they both worked in Warrington and have been good friends ever since.  Once both their first marriages broke up they realised they were more than friends and have been together for 14 years.

"When we knew it would be possible for us to get married this year, we chose the 9 June 2008 as it was the anniversary of Sean first asking me to marry him 5 years ago. 

In all Sean has asked me three times, and of course I said yes every time, but we have just never got round to actually getting married." explained Teresa.

Sean went on, "My accident became a catalyst for the wedding and we saw no reason why we should not get married at the hospital and I am very glad now that we did.

All the staff have been wonderful, arranging things and going out of their way to help us.

I also think it has been a real help in my rehabilitation, as now my neck injury is nearly healed we are looking forward to me having a reasonable amount of independence as I still have the use of my arms.

I also think it has helped the other patients, as they have all wished us well and they say it has given them a lift."

Sean and Teresa were joined at the ceremony by some of their family and friends including Sean's three children, Ben, Tom and Yvonne.

Sean's brother Simon, Teresa's sister Angela and good friend Dave Parker were the witnesses. 

"We both have big families spread around the globe, so we plan on having a massive party next year on our anniversary with everyone there", explained Teresa.

Dr Clive Glass, Clinical Director for the centre said:- "We are really happy for Sean and Teresa and it was a pleasure to be able to make their wish come true."

Digital dividend–new opportunities for local services

OFCOM on 12 June 2008 has published detailed proposals for the release of spectrum in the white spaces’ that will exist between digital television transmitters after digital switchover.

This is the 2nd consultation about the release of valuable spectrum freed up by the switch to digital television, known as the digital dividend.  Last week Ofcom published proposals for the means of awarding ‘cleared’ spectrum that will be fully freed up after switchover.  This consultation deals with geographical ‘white spaces’ that will exist between digital transmitters, and which can be used for new low power services.  This is an important resource which could be used for a range of new applications, including:-

* new digital television services covering most of the UK, a UK region or nation;

* television services covering a city or a local area;

* services in support of programme making and special events; and

* possibly mobile television and mobile broadband.

Ofcom’s overall aim for the digital dividend is to maximise the benefits that use of this spectrum is likely to bring to the UK’s citizens and consumers, whilst promoting more competition and innovation.  The consultation proposes releasing the white spaces in a phased process between 2008 and 2011.  Users should be able to decide what technology to use and what services to offer.  Licences should be tradable and flexible, to allow use of the airwaves to change as new technologies and services emerge.

The 1st step, later this year or early next, will include the award of white space at sites in the first regions to switch to digital television, where local TV services are already licensed.  This will create opportunities for digital services covering Carlisle, Cardiff and Manchester.

Later phases would include:-

* offering white space spectrum in many different parts of the UK at the same time, through a combinedaward; this would allow bidders to put together blocks of spectrum so that they could offer new digital TV services across most of the UK, or a large part of the UK; Bidders could also acquire the spectrum to offer this service in a city or a network of cities.  This award could take place in late 2009;

* offering white space spectrum that might be suitable for local TV services in a wide variety of locations, depending on demand; these awards could take place roughly 1 year ahead of switchover in each region, with the last award in 2011.

This consultation closes on 21 August 2008; see Related Items for the full documents.  The 3rd digital dividend consultation, covering spectrum particularly for use by Programme Makers and Special Events (used at theatres and outdoor events), will be published later in the summer. 

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