They've been together for 47 years and were engaged for three decades... now singer Denise Nolan has finally married drummer Tom Anderson.

The Nolan sisters were guests of honour as the pair tied the knot in Blackpool – their second home – with a service on the promenade and photos in front of the Tower.

Denise, 72, who spent this week on honeymoon in Scarborough, North Yorks, says: “I had a fabulous day. We didn’t get home until midnight. We danced our legs off all night!”

Their ceremony included a special tribute to the late Bernie, who died aged 52 in 2013, before Linda, 65, Coleen, 59, Anne, 73, and Maureen, 70, all got in the mood for dancing at the reception.

The day was extra poignant because Tom, 77, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease six years ago, and the couple knew they faced a race to enjoy the day while they still could.

Mirror columnist Linda moved in with Denise and Tom a year ago, after her incurable cancer spread to her brain. She lived with them for a year in 2017 and for two years during the pandemic as Denise supported her during the worst of her treatment.

Linda wanted to help pay for the couple’s big day as a way to say thank you. And she loved every second of the wedding.

She says: “With everything that’s happened in my own life, moments like these become even more precious.

“Watching Denise walk down the aisle, knowing all the years of love, trials, and triumphs she and Tom have shared, brought tears to my eyes.

“It was a day filled with laughter, tears, and memories that I will cherish for ever.”

The service took place on Monday at the Wedding Chapel Blackpool (Festival House), on the famous promenade, followed by a reception at the nearby Park House Hotel, complete with original Nolan dance routines.

Denise says: “The family are all very generous but Linda’s especially generous. Please God she’s not going to leave us any time, but I think she feels, with her incurable illness, that she wants to help out when she can.”

Denise and Tom met in 1977, when Denise was singing with The Nolans and Tom was the resident drummer at the London Rooms, in the West End. Despite getting engaged in the 90s, they never felt the need to set an actual date – until now.

“We’ve been together now for 47 years, we got engaged about 30 years ago and we love each other,” Denise explains. “We didn’t think we needed the piece of paper to say that.”

Tom, who played in Denise’s band when she went solo, had occasionally suggested booking a service over the years, but they always decided against it.

Denise says: “He’s asked me to marry him a few times. But usually when he’s had a drink and is feeling sentimental! Then I mention it to him the next day and he runs a mile!”

They finally decided to make it official after Tom’s heartbreaking diagnosis. He began to have symptoms in 2018 and the couple recently realised it was now or never.

“We didn’t want to wait until further down the line,” the bride says.

Initially they planned to keep it small – just Denise and Tom and two witnesses – but Linda suggested a big family affair. Denise says: “It went from being the four of us to being about 55 of us!” That guest list included the sisters, brothers Tom Jr and Brian, and families. Loose Women star Coleen took her boyfriend Michael Jones and her son, former Rixton singer Jake Roche.

Not a fan of shops, Denise bought Tom’s dashing light blue three-piece suit and her own wedding outfit – a yellow sequin-striped maxi dress and navy sequin blazer – online.

As for the service, it couldn’t have been more perfect. Denise says: “When you get married at Festival House, you can see Blackpool Tower and the beach.

“It’s just lovely. We didn’t want a big church service so it was perfect and meant we could choose all our own music.”

The day began with a small hitch when the bride forgot her bouquet, but it was swiftly fetched and brother Brian walked Denise down the aisle to her cover of Sinatra’s You, My Love from her 2022 album Top 20 album For You, My Love.

“Everybody was crying, even Tom was sobbing,” the bride says. “I also picked Frank Sinatra’s Love and Marriage because I thought, ‘I have to have a comic song in there’.” The sisters toured with Sinatra in 1975, which is why, Denise says, “We’re all Sinatra addicts in our family.”

Denise and Tom exchanged rings inscribed with “I love you” before playing a recording of the whole family singing together at Bernie’s 1996 wedding to Steve Doneathy – Denise’s way of including her sister on her big day.

The newlyweds then walked back down the aisle to Tom’s rendition of Love Will Keep Us Together. “Everyone in the room was crying,” says Denise.

After photos and the wedding breakfast, the bride shared a reading, To My Man, that summed up her love for Tom. It included the lines: “The day I met you, I found my missing piece. Meeting you was fate, becoming your partner was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control.”

The couple’s first dance was to Stevie Wonder’s Sunshine of My Life – but the big booking was The Nolans themselves.

Denise says: “The DJ had a whole set of the girls’ songs, so he played them and the girls did all the routines, which everybody loved.

“Coleen went to change from her lovely fancy shoes into her trainers, and I ended up in my bare feet because my shoes were killing me!”

For Linda, whose own husband Brian passed away in 2007, it was a wonderful day. “We’ve faced so much together. Being there with my sisters, celebrating such a beautiful union, made me feel deeply grateful for the bond we share,” she says. “Life is unpredictable and often tough, but moments like these make it all worthwhile.”

■For more exclusive photos and the full interview, pick up this week’s OK! magazine, out nationwide on Tuesday.

2024-06-22T19:48:30Z dg43tfdfdgfd