We have exciting news.
Three months after launching Wedding with Thanks – our competition to recognise and celebrate key and essential workers in Northamptonshire – we are reaching an exciting finale.
Wedding with Thanks has been our way of giving back and recognising all the committed, talented, and inspiring essential and key workers here in Northamptonshire.
We have been overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm shown by the people of Northamptonshire. We have had over 350 entries – that is an awful lot of love and romance. In fact, just 20 minutes after BBC Radio Northampton first launched the competition on air we had secured more than 80 nominations … and they have just kept pouring in.
Some couples were nominated once, others were nominated many, many times – by friends, colleagues, and families.
Our first challenge, leading up to our week of judging, was to create a shortlist for our judges. Wow, what a day that was. A small team – myself (Richard, chief executive), our marketing officer Aimee and our PR partner Jessica, spent hours and hours pouring over applications, cross referencing with the competition’s terms and conditions and creating a yes, no, and maybe pile.
We still had more than 25. We met again and then once more – finally agreeing on a shorter ‘shortlist’ and ended up with 11 finalists.
That 11 has now become six. One couple had to pull out a few days after we another told them they were finalists and another sadly told us (and we send all our love and best wishes) that she is unwell and in fact was due to have surgery last week. She did not, understandably, think the timing was right. One of our other couples does not live in Northamptonshire so was ineligible and two simply didn’t reply to our calls and emails.
So, we now have a final six. Every single one deserves to win. I challenge you not to shed a few tears when you hear from them.
Good luck to everyone.
We held two judging events this week – we did this across two days due to the new Government restrictions about meeting up. Our judges had a tough task – they were shown a short video, shot by each of our finalists, along with photos and lots of information – about how the couple met, what they most love about each other and so much more.
We will be announcing the winning couple on Thursday, 24th September – live, on the BBC Radio Northampton breakfast show.
Meet our finalists:
1. Alastair Mair and Laura Higgs
This couple were due to marry in March 2020, but it was cancelled when the country went into lockdown. They only had a few days’ notice. On the day they were due to walk down the aisle Alastair was working away, helping the army with its COVID efforts. He spent three months working away on a testing site, while Laura has been working as a carer for the elderly.
2. Lois Sawford and Luke Milton-White
This couple met three and a half years ago after first meeting at an Open Mic night in Northampton. They tell us they have been inseparable since. Luke is a materials management operation at Northampton General Hospital – his job has been to ensure wards have enough stock and medical equipment. Lois works at Northampton College and is an academic coach in health and social care. Despite working from home, Lois continued to work hard – supporting colleagues and students.
3. Emily Roberts and Stephen Cooper
This couple, who have a young daughter called Lily, both work in the radiotherapy department at Northampton General Hospital. Emily cares for cancer patients having treatment and, in the future, to become a midwife (she is well on her way). Steve, who gave up his job as an estate agent several years ago to retrain, is a qualified therapeutic radiographer. The duo met at work and say they are huge fans of Delapré Abbey.
4. Katie Garner and Martha Munro
This couple, who met on their very first day at university, are both teachers. Originally best friends, they soon fell in love and say that overcoming personal challenges has brought them even closer. Martha has Asperger’s Syndrome and Katie has struggled with her wellbeing. Both say that by supporting each other they are stronger than ever. Martha and Katie both work as primary school teachers.
5. Megan Williams and Ryan Warren
This young couple first met at the age of 16 in sixth form. It was Megan’s very first day at the school and they were standing in line to get their photos taken. Megan studied for a degree in nursing (completed in September 2019) and the same year, 2017, Ryan was accepted into the Northamptonshire Police Force. Megan is now an A&E nurse; Ryan is a fully trained police officer, and both have worked tirelessly during COVID.
6. Rebecca Smith and Joe Londregan
This couple, both former students of Duston Upper School, live in Kingsthorpe and have had a challenging time during COVID. Rebecca, known as Becci, works at Northampton General Hospital and had to cut her maternity leave short get back on the front line. They were engaged in 2012 and have been wanting to wed ever since.
Thank you to all the businesses that have supported this competition. The winning couple will get a wedding with literally ALL the trimmings – rings, clothes, transport, flowers, food and much more.
• Sky Photography
• Tangerine Red
• Potter Events
• White Room
• The Orangery (T.H.E Hospitality Limited)
• Gardners Bakery
• Forevermore events
• Michael Jones