Sara's shipshape and setting sail!

A loved-up couple tied the knot with the help of one of Blackpool's beloved icons.

Thursday, 5th May 2016, 8:00 pm
Photo: Neil Cross

Andrew and Sara Lewington headed to their wedding reception at the Wedding Chapel in style on board the HMS Blackpool tram on Saturday.

Event administrator Sara, 30, said: “I thought it was quite unique and different.

“It started off as a bit of a joke between me and my parents, but then mydad rang up and enquired about it. We had no idea you could hire the tram for weddings.

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Photo: Neil Cross

“At first I thought it was a funny idea, but once we had got it all arranged and booked I was invested in it!”

The happy couple planned their unique wedding in honour of Sara’s Navy veteran father Mark Lewington, 51, who helped with the commissioning of the HMS Beaver in 1984, which the HMS Blackpool tram is based on.

Falklands War veteran Mark oversaw the Beaver’s stability tests, the testing of the accuracy of the ship’s Sea Wolf missile system, and the blast tests, where explosives are detonated at 100, 500 and 1,000 metres away from the ship.

Sara, who lives at Salmesbury Avenue, Bispham, said: “When he was away at sea he would grab any opportunity to come home. He would drive hundreds of miles to come home just for a couple of days.

Photo: Neil Cross

“It’s difficult for people in the forces to be with their families but my dad was always grasping the chance to see us.”

The mum-of-three added: “The HMS Blackpool brought him back to his youth.

“He really enjoyed it.

“It just looked like a bus inside but my mum and dad had decorated it all with our wedding colours – baby blue – and put up balloons inside. Everyone got a little Navy kit bag with a bottle of rum.”

Mark, who lives at Beaufort Avenue in Bispham with his wife Janice, 57, said: “It was very much like the Beaver. Whoever designed it must have been very good.I joined the Navy straight from school. The Beaver was going on a world tour when Sara was about to be born so I managed to switch ships just in time – otherwise she would have been nine months old before I even saw her.

“It’s just lovely to be around them now. It’s fantastic to be able to make up for lost time - because we did lose a lot.

“It was a very emotional day. I was emotional during the speech and struggled to get everything out.

“I felt extremely proud.”