NHS staff who cancelled £10k wedding due to coronavirus break down in tears when strangers throw them a surprise one
A COUPLE who work for the NHS were moved to tears after strangers organised a surprise street wedding for them after they were forced to cancel their £10,000 bash due to coronavirus.
Alex Buckwell and David Collie, from Eastbourne, spent a year planning their dream wedding in David’s native Scotland, and were set to tie the knot on April 11 before jetting off on a two-week honeymoon to Vietnam.
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Alex, 26, had organised a bagpiper and three course meal, with David’s groomsmen all planning on wearing kilts for the ceremony, booked for the Ross Priory on the banks of Lake Lomond
Alex, who works in HR for the NHS in Eastbourne, said: “He’d dropped down on one knee during a walk along the beach on April 11 last year and so we decided to get married on the same day this year.
“I’d bought my dress, and because David is originally from Glasgow he and his groomsmen were going to wear kilts and we’d booked a piper and a saxophonist.
“We had arranged everything – from table plans to the menu for the three-course dinner and accompanying drinks, through to every detail of the honeymoon.
"We had flights, hotel, outfits – the lot – ready and paid for when the coronavirus hit.”
But the couple were forced to postpone the wedding until next April due to the pandemic, with the pair lucky enough to be able to move into their new house the day before moves were banned, on March 23.
Alex said: “I was in tears having to postpone everything until next April, but David and I said we would make it special on the day and we went to Waitrose to buy filet steak and a bottle of wine.”
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The couple had briefly met their neighbours while clapping for the NHS in the street, and Alex mentioned their postponed wedding during a five minute chat with a woman who lived across the street.
But after hearing about the couple’s dashed plans, neighbour Bernie Hellett rallied the residents to throw a surprise wedding for the couple on April 11 – the day they were due to marry.
Alex and David had no idea about the plans until they heard bagpipes at 6.30pm, and opened their door to find the street had clubbed together to throw them an impromptu wedding.
Alex said: “We didn’t know anything about it until we heard bagpipes and opened our front door and saw a table and chairs with a bottle of champagne and flowers.
“Everyone had hung bunting, and were holding glasses of bubbly on their doorsteps to toast us with. Someone had Flower of Scotland playing on a speaker.
“Then they played Abba’s Dancing Queen and everyone clapped as we had our first dance in the middle of the street.
“We must have been making quite a bit of noise as the police drove past but they didn’t stop and just carried on as we were all social distancing and being sensible.
“I was in tears as I couldn’t believe how kind strangers were being. These were people I’d only waved at when we all went out to clap for the NHS on Thursday nights.
"The only one I’d spoken to was Bernie as she asked how I was coping with lockdown and I mentioned we’d had to move our wedding.
“It was a very special and magical moment and made me realise we’re so glad we moved here – we have the best neighbours ever.”
Neighbours had hung up bunting, got out a bubble machine, flowers, champagne and one bloke even turned up in a kilt.
I couldn’t stop crying
Alex said: “It was the most touching surprise.
“To know that this was all organised by strangers made it even more incredible. I couldn’t stop crying.
“We’d moved into the house on the last day possible before house moves were banned and then we were in lockdown so we hadn’t met any of the neighbours.
“I’d only mentioned it to the woman who lives opposite the day before what should have been our wedding day as she asked if we could swap car parking spaces.
“It was just said in a casual five-minute conversation from across the street and she secretly organised an entire surprise wedding for us. It was so kind, we were overwhelmed.”
David, who’s been trained to do respiratory physiotherapy on patients with the killer virus said: “I was really taken aback by this amazing gesture. It was quite incredible.”
They added the street is planning a proper party to celebrate when the lockdown is over.
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