A gay man who has been given a month to live, had a civil partnership ceremony with his boyfriend in hospital today.

Peter Howard, 57, was diagnosed with skin cancer five years ago and doctors warned the condition had got extremely serious, prompting him to arrange his civil union to partner, Chris Wells, 32, at short notice.

Hospital staff took Mr Howard from his bed to the public waiting area where his boyfriend, a registrar, friends and family awaited the ceremony.

Mr Wells told the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, “Peter contracted skin cancer about five years ago but it was thought to have been cured.

“Then it returned and it really accelerated over the last four or five weeks. He was told a week ago he had a month to live.

“A civil partnership was something we always intended to do but we never got round to. The diagnosis made it very urgent.

“The people at the register office put us on the fast track and they arranged it in two days.”

At the ceremony, Mr Wells told his partner “You’re my partner, my soul mate but above all you’re my best mate and I love you very much.”