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Doctor and nurse get married at London hospital where they both work after covid-19 scuppers wedding plans

by Premier Journalist

A medical couple whose wedding plans were thwarted by the coronavirus have tied the knot in the hospital where they work. Jann Tipping, 34, and Annalan Navaratnam, 30, made their vows in the Grade II listed chapel at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, back in April. 

The pair had planned to wed in August, but had to cancel out of fear that their families, who are based in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka, would be unable to travel due to the covid-19 restrictions. The couple decided not to postpone the event and invited attendees to celebrate with them virtually instead. 

Jann, 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.

“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.”

The ceremony was conducted by Revd Mia Hilborn, head of spiritual healthcare at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Two witnesses also attended the service. 

Jann added: “It was nice being just us, it felt very intimate. One of our witnesses live streamed the service so our friends and family could watch.

“It was a lovely wedding and the chapel is beautiful, although it did feel surreal getting married where we work, and in a hospital. 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.”

Following the service, the happy couple held a virtual drinks reception, which included their first dance and speeches. 

"We had a beautiful wedding day which we will always remember," Jann said. "It was a nice thing to happen in the middle of an anxious time. We’re so grateful to the chaplaincy team who went the extra mile to make it possible.”

Annalan, an acute medical registrar who has been working at St Thomas’ the past 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." 

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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