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Nurse and doctor marry at hospital after wedding cancelled due to Covid-19

UK News | Published:

Jann Tipping, 34, and Annalan Navaratnam, 30, had planned to wed in August but got married instead at the chapel of St Thomas’ Hospital.

Jann Tipping and Annalan Navaratnam

A nurse and doctor who were forced to cancel their wedding due to the coronavirus outbreak have got married at the hospital where they work.

Jann Tipping, 34, and Annalan Navaratnam, 30, took time out from their frontline work in battling coronavirus to tie the knot in the Grade II listed chapel at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital.

Guests enjoyed their special day remotely, thanks to one of the witnesses who live-streamed the service so that friends and family could watch.

The couple, of Tulse Hill, south London, had cancelled their original plans to wed in August amid fears their families would not be able to travel safely from Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka for the big day.

Then, rather than postpone, they decided to move the wedding forward and got a special go-ahead from the hospital’s chaplaincy team for a private wedding ceremony.

Ms Tipping, an ambulatory emergency nurse, said: “We wanted to have the ceremony while everyone was still healthy, even if it meant our loved ones having to watch us on a screen. We wanted to make sure we could celebrate while we were all still able to.

“The chaplaincy team worked hard to get permission for us to be married, which we appreciated greatly at a time when so much was going on.

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“A date was set within two weeks and we hadn’t bought my dress, our rings and other things we needed so we rushed to get everything done quickly.”

She described it as an “intimate” and “lovely” wedding but said it felt “surreal” getting married in the hospital where they work.

She added: “St Thomas’ is such a special place to us both, and especially to me, having been here for the last six years. Now there is an extra reason why it’s so important to us.”

Ms Tipping described it as “a nice thing to happen in the middle of an anxious time”.

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Mr Navaratnam, an acute medical registrar who has been working at St Thomas’ for a year, added: “Jann and I wanted to get married from the moment I proposed. We’re so happy that we have been able to commit ourselves to one another and that the hospital has been able to support us to do that.”

After hearing about the wedding, Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: “This is lovely.”

The newlyweds hosted a virtual drinks reception for their guests – who had champagne for the reception sent to their homes in advance – which included their first dance and speeches.

Just Reverend Mia Hilborn, the newlyweds and two witnesses were inside the chapel for the April 24 ceremony.

Revd Hilborn said: “At such a challenging time for staff, as chaplains we strive to offer as much support as we can. We know how upsetting it is to need to delay big celebratory events such as weddings so we are happy to talk to any staff who need to postpone their wedding to see how we can help.

“I was delighted to be able to get special permission to marry Jann and Annalan in the beautiful chapel at St Thomas’. It was a lovely service and I was thrilled to be part of it.”

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