Friends and family watched Julie Redman and her partner Susan Turner tie the knot in a moving Civil Partnership ceremony arranged after Julie discovered she had cancer.

The couple decided to make their partnership official just two weeks ago as Julie began a course of chemotherapy to fight the aggressive breast cancer she was diagnosed with in December.

The pair, who have been together for ten years, tied the knot at Brighton register office in Brighton Town Hall yesterday afternoon. Julie was due to return to the cancer unit at the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton today for more chemotherapy.

After the service, conducted by superintendent registrar Debra Reynolds, the couple celebrated their union at a reception at the Hilton Metropole, Brighton, helping to raise funds for the Pink Dolphin Breast Cancer Appeal which is raising money for a new breast care unit in the city.

The ceremony and reception was organised by friends including neighbours Donna and Eamonn Mason. Donna, who paid for the flowers for the service, runs the Pink Rolls Royce Company.

Eamonn made a video of the event. The Metropole donated the reception room free of charge for the fund-raising reception. Donna's father Bill Partridge was the toastmaster at the reception and guests included gay couple the Reverend Debbie Gaston and her partner Elaine who were one of the first couple's to tie the knot when the Civil Partnership law was introduced in December.

Julie and Susan attend the inclusive Metropolitan Community Church in St James's Street, Brighton, where the Rev Gaston preaches.

Julie, 59, and Susan, 46, of Mile Oak, met each other at a social event run by a women's organisation.

The couple, who presented each other with gold wedding rings and diamond and sapphire engagements rings at yesterday's service, are hoping Julie will be well enough to have a holiday next year, although she faces an enduring schedule of treatment throughout this year to fight the cancer which was found in her breast, lymph nodes and neck.

Susan said of the decision to tie the knot: "It was about the fact that we want to be together for as long as we can. If she gets better then we will have another 20 years or more together. She's not going anywhere."

Julie, who shaved her hair off in anticipation of losing it through chemotherapy, said: "I'm remaining positive but we have talked about something happening to me. There are days when I cry and think I'm dying, but I'm hopeful. I would really like to go on holiday next year."

Donations to the appeal can be made by sending cheques to The Pink Dolphin Appeal, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Appeals Office, Room 260, Sussex House, Abbey Road, Brighton, BN2 1ES.