Couple so desperate to get married they tied the knot at midnight

Two key workers have tied the knot seconds after lockdown restrictions were eased in a midnight wedding ceremony.

Care home worker Jennifer Wilson and security guard Louise Arnold, both 22, said "I do" at the Peace Garden Pergola in the grounds of Runcorn Town Hall.

It is thought to be the first wedding after the government's updated Covid-19 guidelines came into force this morning.

Originally the couple, who have been engaged for three years, had planned to marry earlier but they cancelled the nuptials when travel restrictions meant Ms Wilson's parents and brother wouldn't be able to come over from their home in Australia to attend.

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Ms Wilson said: "Last week the registry office rang and asked if we wanted to be the first couple in the UK to marry after lockdown and we just said yes.

"We both work nights normally so the time suited us."

Louise Arnold-Wilson (left) and Jennifer (right) who were married at Runcorn Town Hall Registry Office at one minute past midnight as the lifting of further lockdown restrictions in England came into effect.

Ms Arnold, who works for lorry firm Eddie Stobart, added: "With it having just been Pride month, this felt like something we couldn't really pass up. Not just for us but for other LGBT people who haven't been able to get together to celebrate Pride."

The couple, who live in Widnes, had just over a week to prepare for the rearranged nuptials and have had offers from friends to help with hair and make up.

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They invited 16 guests to the ceremony, plus Ms Wilson's family who watched over Facetime, wearing their wedding outfits in their home in Australia.

Plans for a reception with 120 guests have been postponed until a year's time and their hopes of a honeymoon in Mexico have been swapped for a few days' staycation in Blackpool.

The childhood sweethearts met eight years ago while Ms Arnold was on holiday in New Zealand, where Ms Wilson was living, and had a long distance relationship until Ms Wilson moved to England to study nursing in 2017.

She has been working as a senior dementia care assistant in Trewan House, Widnes, throughout the pandemic.

"It has been hard because the residents have dementia and they know something's different but they don't know exactly what," she said.

"Their families can't come in and see them and a lot of them don't really understand Facetime.

"Thankfully we haven't had any cases of coronavirus there."

She added: "I think everyone has been excited to be able to celebrate something positive after the past few months.

"We didn't realise how many friends we had until we had so many offers of help to get ready for the wedding.

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"It's hard to put into words how much this means to us."

Registration service manager for Halton Borough Council Andrew Lucas, said: "We are delighted to help Louise and Jennifer say 'I do' on what we think is the first wedding after the lockdown period and help make sure that their special day will be one they would remember forever."

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