Terrington St Clement bride-to-be taken to wedding in armoured vehicle
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 March 2011
Archant Â© 2011
Bride-to-be Melanie Garner couldn't make up her mind about the best mode of transport to get her to the church on time for her big day.
She thought about a white limo, a vintage Rolls-Royce, or maybe a traditional horse and carriage.
And then the mother of the bride suggested Melanie could have a military vehicle, since her sweetheart, James Taylor, was serving with 38 Engineer Regiment of the British Army in Northern Ireland.
Melanie, 26, said: “At first I said it was a silly idea, but then the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was exactly what I wanted because it was so unusual.”
And Melanie, from Terrington St Clement, said her new husband, who was shot in the arm while on active service in Afghanistan, liked the idea straightaway.
“He wanted something like a tank because he didn’t want to wear a dress uniform as everyone else was going to be in tails, so a military vehicle would help underline our connection to the armed forces,” she explained.
The couple contacted King’s Lynn military enthusiast Shaun Mitchell, who said he would drive the bride to St Clement’s parish church in her home village in his FV432 armoured personnel carrier.
The wedding day was Saturday, when Mr Mitchell’s machine rumbled into the village just after 11am to pick up the bride from her home in Alma Avenue. Four bridesmaids, two pageboys, the bride-to-be and her father, Kevin, then packed into the vehicle to arrive at church for noon.
Melanie said: “It was very exciting because there can’t be too many brides who have gone to their wedding in one of these.
“Not many people knew about this apart from my family, so it did come as quite a shock to some people when we pulled up outside the church.
“We were only travelling for about 10 minutes, but it felt like it was longer because we all enjoyed it so much.”
Mr Mitchell said: “The brides- maids and the pageboy in particular loved it and said they all thought it was brilliant.
“It was only a short journey to the church, but there were quite a few people in the village who looked quite shocked to see us and wondered what was going on.
Others had a double take before waving at us: I guess it is a very unusual sight to see in Terrington St Clement.”
After the service, the happy couple posed for pictures next to the vehicle before hopping into a more conventional wedding vehicle and heading to the reception at Wisbech.
The newlyweds will have to wait for their honeymoon, though, as James, 26, is visiting the Headley Court medical rehabilitation unit in Surrey this week for more treatment to his wounded arm.
The FV432 is the armoured personnel carrier variant of the army’s FV430 series of armoured fighting vehicles.
It was introduced in the 1960s and has been used to transport infantry on the battlefield.
In the 1980s, almost 2,500 vehicles were in use, with around 1,500 now remaining in operation, mostly in supporting arms rather than front-line infantry service.
Although the FV432 Series was to have been phased out of service in favour of newer vehicles, they are now being upgraded gradually to extend their service through into the next decade.