A bride-to-be whose fiancé collapse the day after they got engaged was told to ‘say her goodbyes’ to her future husband.

However Doreen Abel’s fiancé has been improving steadily since then, and they plan to get married as soon as he can say “I do”.

The 68-year-old Blackheath woman abseiled 160 feet down the side of St Thomas’ Hospital on the banks of the Thames to raise money for the hospital taking care of her future husband.

Ian McKenzie, Doreen’s husband, collapsed with severe sepsis on New Year’s Day, the day after they got engaged following 25 years together.

Doctors found Ian, 55, had blood clots which have caused brain damage and he was put into an induced coma for a month.

Doreen said: “On January 3 I was told to say my goodbyes to Ian but it’s now May and he’s still here. The team at St Thomas’ have done an incredible job.

“He is unable to speak or swallow but he has regained some movement thanks to his treatment, and he can smile and laugh and show he is aware of what’s going on.

“I tell him silly jokes all day to keep him going. While we don’t yet know how much of a recovery he will make, we are feeling positive.”

Doreen abseiled down the side of the hospital last Friday (May 12) to raise money for the hospital and said she it “in style and I loved it”.

Now she plans to wait until Ian’s voice comes back so he can finally say “I do” on the vital day.

She said: “I see Ian hoisted every day out of his bed for treatment and I thought, if he can be hoisted up to get better, then I can be hoisted up out of my comfort zone and raise money by doing the abseil.

“Ian proposed to me on New Year’s Eve and we will marry as soon as he gets his voice back to say ‘I do’.

“He’s working with speech and language therapists who have been fantastic and they hope he will talk again. I can’t fault the treatment here - all the staff have been amazing.

“As well as caring for Ian, the doctors made sure I was doing well and mentally able to cope with the situation. They put me at ease and always keep me informed about Ian’s progress.”