Coronavirus: Doctor and nurse who cancelled wedding due to pandemic tie the knot in hosptial

May 26, 2020

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

Jann Tipping, 34, and Annalan Navaratnam, 30, from Tulse Hill, south London, planned to tie the knot in August, but feared their families would not be able to travel from Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka because of COVID-19.

Instead, the couple - who work at St Thomas' in London - decided to exchange vows as soon as possible, accepting their guests would have to watch remotely.

They sought permission to have a private ceremony in the Grade 2-listed chapel at the hospital, which has features dating back to when St Thomas' opened on its current site - opposite the Houses of Parliament - in 1870.

Jann, an ambulatory emergency nurse, said they were "so grateful" to the chaplaincy team, who "went the extra mile to make it possible" during the pandemic.

She 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," she added.

"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."

Annalan, an acute medical registrar, who has been working at St Thomas' for a year, said they "wanted to get married from the moment I proposed".

He said: "We're so happy that we've been able to commit ourselves to one another, and that the hospital has been able to support us to do that."

Reverend Mia Hilborn - head of spiritual healthcare at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust - conducted the ceremony on Friday 24 April, with just two witnesses present.

She said: "At such a challenging time for staff, as chaplains we strive to offer as much support as we can. 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."

Jann said: "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's an extra reason why it's so important to us."

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After the ceremony, the newlyweds hosted a virtual drinks reception for their guests, which included their first dance and speeches.

They had sent guests champagne for the reception to their homes in advance.

Jann said: "We had a beautiful wedding day which we will always remember.

"It was a nice thing to happen in the middle of an anxious time."

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