Heartwarming moment paralysed groom stands at his wedding

Kristine Tarbert

Weddings are generally an emotional affair, but as James Thorpe STOOD at the alter waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Just over a year after he was paralysed in a freak accident on his stag-do, James has defied the odds to say his vows standing up.

The 29-year-old nearly died and was told he'd never walk again after suffering a crippling spinal injury when he slipped over in the sea during a trip to Majorca, Spain.

paralysed groom

Paralysed groom James Thorpe stands at the aisle. Photo: Mega

Not only did he stand for his vows, he also managed to share an emotional first dance with his bride Michaela, 33, using a special frame.

"It was the best day of my life and meant everything to me. It was terrible what happened to me but could have been worse,"James says.

"Having the love of my life by my side throughout everything has given me the strength to do what doctors told me I wouldn't."

wedding

James marries Michaela standing up. Photo: Mega

wedding vows

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Photo: Mega

James and Michaela, from England, met in 2012 and were due to get married on June 24, 2016, after he popped the question at Disney World in Florida in 2014.

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But the now retired firefighter was forced to put the wedding on hold.

Disney proposal

James popped the question at Disney World in Florida. Photo: Mega

Within hours of landing in Magaluf, Majorca with his friends for his bucks week he tripped and fell while paddling in the sea. Swept off his feet in the knee-high water he hit his head on the seabed and felt his neck break.

"It was a complete freak accident. There were six of us there looking forward to a great week away but for me, it was over within a matter of hours and changed my life forever,"James remembers.

accident

James is rushed to hospital in a critical condition. Photo: Mega

Luckily one of his friends spotted him disappearing under the water or he could have possibly drowned. After getting him out of the water his mates also made a head rest out of sand to keep his neck still until help arrived.

James spent two weeks in a critical condition in a hospital in Palma de Majorca and MRI scans revealed he had broken his c7 vertebrae.

holiday accident

James was left paralysed from the chest down. Photo: Mega

He was left paralysed from the chest down and told by doctors he wouldn't walk again. But James was determined to get back on his feet to tie the knot with his fiancée.

Thanks to his incredible willpower and his commitment to rehab, James was able to take his first steps at Sheffield Northern General hospital on May 24 when he walked with the aid of a robotic Exko Skeleton suit and walking frame.

James Thorpe

James showed incredible determination to walk again. Photo: Mega

"It was the greatest achievement. I was definitely very tearful when it happened," he says. "I felt like I was making some real progress and it gave me real hope."

Finally the couple could plan their special day, tying the knot in a Disney-themed wedding at Belvoir Castle in Grantham on Saturday.

Disney wedding

The couple had a Disney-themed wedding. Photo: Mega

Knowing the special moment would be an emotional one, they provided tissues to the guests in advance - and even advised the women to wear waterproof mascara.

It's a good thing they did, as they finished the night off with a real tearjerker, sharing an emotional first dance using a special frame for James.

first dance

James and Michaela shared an emotional first dance using a special frame. Photo: Mega

"We always expected it to be a really emotional day but everyone at our wedding has been on this journey with us so I don't think there was a dry eye in the house," Michaela says.

"To see James standing there making his vows to me was a dream come true."

dream wedding

Michaela says the wedding was a 'dream come true'. Photo: Mega

James hopes to make a complete recovery and has astounded doctors with how quickly he has got to where he is today.

"The doctors have said I probably won't ever make a complete recovery but they said I wouldn't walk again after the accident and I have," he says.

"I've come this far and nothing is going to hold me back now."

newlyweds

The couple now want to start a family. Photo: Mega

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