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Portrush newlyweds plea as their wedding day is held six months late


Big day: Couple Jason and Lauren Chambers who finally married last week

Big day: Couple Jason and Lauren Chambers who finally married last week

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Big day: Couple Jason and Lauren Chambers who finally married last week

A Portrush couple are using their delayed wedding ceremony to appeal for support for the coastguard charity this Christmas as it suffers the impact of Covid-19.

Newlyweds Jason Chambers, who is an RNLI relief mechanic, and his wife Lauren (McGee) were due to get married on April 18 but were forced to rethink their plans after the nationwide lockdown.

The couple have two children - Tyler (9) and Isla (5) - and were finally able to tie the knot last week.

Jason and Lauren are now asking the public to support the charity's annual Christmas appeal after volunteers faced an unprecedented year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

The RNLI, which has three lifeboat stations in Co Antrim, has seen a drop in income in 2020 as traditional fundraising activities had to be cancelled.

Reflecting on their delayed wedding plans, Lauren, who is a professional wedding photographer, explained that the original idea was to reschedule their wedding for April 2021 - but her diary quickly filled up with other couples reorganising their own weddings.

"We also said to ourselves, 'What are we waiting for, we just want to get married', so we decided to stick with a date in November that we had arranged when the original day was cancelled," she said.

A stressful few months later and amid restrictions changing regularly, the couple eventually got their big day last week.

Much to Jason's surprise and delight, four fully kitted out lifeboat crew members representing the station, were waiting outside the Arcadia in Portrush following the ceremony to provide a socially distanced guard of honour to wish the couple well.

"We could only have 18 guests along with Jason, myself and our two children but we were able to set up a live stream that allowed everybody else who should have been there to watch," Lauren said.

"Everyone went to such efforts in getting dressed up for the occasion and to join us in the wedding virtually."

She continued: "When it was over, we went for takeaway coffee and sat on the harbour overlooking the lifeboat station.

"Then we went home, had a takeaway and had our first dance in the kitchen."

With her husband on the lifeboat crew in Portrush, Lauren knows all too well how important it is for volunteers to have the right lifesaving kit and personal protection equipment.

"I am very proud that Jason is a volunteer but I do also worry when the pager beeps and he is called out to save others who are in trouble," she said.

"There is always such a sense of relief when he helps to bring those in difficulty back to safety but also when he returns home safely himself.

"From the moment I met Jason, the RNLI pager became a part of my life too. The lifeboat has always been in Jason's blood and he comes from a long family line who have been involved in helping to save lives at sea for generations."

Lauren urged people to donate to the RNLI's Christmas appeal, while Jason added that any donation would make a huge difference to the charity as it provides lifesaving services.

"The best Christmas gift RNLI volunteers like me can wish for is a kind donation to our Christmas appeal," he said.

Belfast Telegraph