It should have been the happiest days of their lives, but Ian and Ashley Hutchinson were forced to settle for less on their wedding day.
The couple, from Stanley, were due at Bishop Auckland Registry Office at 10:30am on Tuesday to tie the knot in a low-key ceremony with a couple of witnesses.
They had recently brought their wedding forward by a week in anticipation of a more stringent approach from the UK government in fighting coronavirus.
But unfortunately for them, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown on Monday which left them feeling they had been robbed of their special day.
Ian said: “We’re completely devastated. We had been so excited to finally get married. It was only meant to be a small do, but it meant the world to us."
He continued: “We’d heard the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday night and basically knew that we wouldn’t be getting married.
“We only got confirmation by a phone call in the morning at 8:20am from the registry office telling us not to travel and to get in touch at a later date to reschedule.
“We understand the reasoning behind cancelling the wedding. It just doesn’t make it any easier. We’d be waiting for this day for so long and now we don’t know how long we’re going to have to wait.”
Ian, 47, quit his job in sales in 2018 to be a full-time carer for his 34-year-old partner who has a range of health problems.
The mum-of-three has a pituitary gland tumour, bipolar and also struggles with PTSD and anxiety.
Ashley was also recently diagnosed with Behcet's disease, a rare disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation throughout your body.
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Her condition means she rarely leaves the house but was excited at the idea of walking down the aisle to marry the love of her life.
The couple have also had their honeymoon to a caravan park in Whitley Bay cancelled as people are told to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis.
And Ian feels he could have been a married man now if people had not ignored the government’s advice on coronavirus.
He said: “If people had listened to the guidance in the first place then maybe we wouldn’t have to go into lockdown and we might be married by now.
“To be told hours before the wedding that it won’t be going ahead is heartbreaking. We’re all at home now and there’s nothing really we can do.”
Speaking yesterday, he added: “I’ve been out to get some shopping and been doing the washing at the house instead. We were planning on getting a takeaway, but we’ll probably just have a pizza from Iceland.”
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