Diocese of Portsmouth

    Ambulance workers thank church for reorganising their wedding

    2 July 2020

    WHEN the Prime Minister announced that small weddings could happen in churches from July 4, Steph Little and Tom Martin’s hearts leapt.

    The ambulance workers had being planning their wedding day for 4 July 2020 for almost two years, but the lockdown meant they’d postponed it until next year. Suddenly, it was back on again – but they only had one week to re-organise it.

    They’ve thanked the clergy and team at St Faith’s Church, Lee-on-Solent, who have moved heaven and earth to ensure that their big day can still go ahead this Saturday. (July 4) The vicar, the Rev Paul Chamberlain, has helped them to obtain a Common Licence, walked them through the service via Zoom, and will move the furniture so Steph’s father can walk her down the aisle in a socially-distanced way.

    Steph Little, aged 24, and Tom Martin, 30, originally met at university six years ago, as they both studied to become paramedics. They both joined the London Ambulance Service and have been on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic. Steph became ill with the virus in March, and Tom looked after her – as they resigned themselves to their wedding day being postponed.

    Although they live in London, they wanted to marry at St Faith’s, where Steph’s dad Malcolm and her uncle were choirboys, and her father’s side of the family regularly attended. Steph’s auntie also got married there, and her grandparents volunteered in church.

    Steph said: “St Faith’s Church has been amazing. We had been planning our wedding day for two years, and we had decided to delay it until the same date next year. But really we wanted to get married this summer if we could. As the weeks of the pandemic went by, it looked more and more unlikely, even with just the vicar and two witnesses.

    “When Boris Johnson said that weddings could happen from July 4, with 30 people, we were amazed – and we decided to go for it. Once we had the go-ahead, we only had a week left to get ready! But the vicar Paul and the church have been so supportive, sorting out the legal side, and making all the arrangements. It feels like a miracle that it can happen at all.

    “We had an original guest list of 90, but having 30 means we can have parents, siblings, grandparents and so on, all sitting socially distanced from each other. We’ll still have a big reception for everyone next year, maybe with a blessing.

    “St Faith’s will widen the aisle, so that I can walk up it with my dad, but socially distanced and not arm-in-arm. My original dress hadn’t been altered in time before lockdown, but I’ve just ordered a simpler one, and Tom will wear a suit he had already. And my dad will drive me to the wedding in his camper van, so I can be socially distanced in the back!

    “Hopefully we can go down to the sea afterwards for some photos, and we’ve booked a hotel for a celebratory meal too. The important thing for us is that we wanted to get married this year, as you never know what might happen next year. It does help you to realise what things are most important about your wedding day – this will be a really chilled out day, and we’re really pleased it can go ahead.”

    Tom Martin and Steph Little on their wedding day at St Faith's, Lee-on-Solent

    Tom and Steph’s roles with the London Ambulance Service did mean they were busy dealing with patients suffering from Covid-19, especially in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

    “It was hectic right at the start,” said Steph. “The ambulance service was very busy and there were a lot more callouts than normal. We did appreciate having a job to do, and a specific purpose in these uncertain times. We also appreciated all the public support for the NHS.

    “Right at the start, I had to isolate for 10 days, as I had the virus too. I didn’t need to go to A & E, but it was like the worst flu I’ve ever had, and the chest pains continued for four or five weeks. I had the antibody test, and I’ve definitely had Covid. Tom isolated too for 14 days to look after me.

    And the vicar of St Faith’s, the Rev Paul Chamberlain, said: “We’ve been really pleased to be able to pull out all the stops to make this wedding possible. It was be a fantastic day, and I’ve enjoyed planning it with Tom and Steph. I’m delighted that this happy event will be the first service back in St Faith’s Church after the lockdown.”

    St Faith's

    Victoria Square Lee-on-the-Solent, PO13 9NF

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