A couple who met in a widow bereavement group won a race against time to marry just hours before lockdown.
Rosie and Jonathan Gill-Moss wed just over an hour after Boris Johnson announced new Covid restrictions which would have put their special day on hold.
And earlier this year, Rosie, who lost her husband in 2018, had to watch as Jon battled Covid in a coma on a ventilator in intensive care.
As he recovered, he proposed to her on a video call from his hospital bed.
The parents of four young children were determined to get married the weekend before Christmas in front of a small group of family and friends.
But their ceremony was heartbreakingly cancelled at the 11th hour when Tier 4 restrictions in December, which pulled the plug on weddings in all but exceptional circumstances.
The couple met in a bereavement group after both lost their spouses in tragic circumstances.
Rosie lost husband Ben when he went missing during a scuba diving trip off the coast of Dover in March 2018, leaving her to raise children Monty, Hector and Tabitha.
Jon joined the same support network after losing wife Sarah to cancer, leaving him and daughter Holly.
Less than a year into their new romance, Jon caught coronavirus at the start of the pandemic last year and nearly died before he was placed on a ventilator in intensive care.
Rosie, 39 was warned by medics battling to save him that she should prepare for the worst.
Jon, 43, credits a dictaphone Rosie had filled with messages from their children, friends and family as the reason he eventually woke from his coma, or what the couple often refer to as his ‘long nap’.
He said he realised “how closely I did sail to the wind”, asked Rosie to marry him from his hospital bed via a video call.
But their wedding plans were cut short in December, and the couple were determined to get married by any means.
Rosie said: “That beacon of light that we had so, so looked forward to was blown out.
“But after the news I received in March that I may never see Jon again, it was just a minor blip in comparison.
“And watching the devastating losses so many have suffered this year, it was really just a small setback.”
Since Christmas the couple had been desperately trying to rearrange their day when talk of yet another lockdown began emerging.
So in a race against time, and just hours before new tougher restrictions were brought in at midnight on Monday, the couple, armed with face masks – but having forgotten wedding rings in the rush – dashed to get hitched after registrars at The Mansion House in Tunbridge Wells said they could marry them.
With close family watching via Facetime it was left to two best friends to serve as witnesses, who dropped everything and arrived in the casual clothes they were wearing when they received the call.
Rosie said: “The register office rang at 4.30pm and we were husband and wife by 6pm.”
She added: “Not this time Boris, not this time.”
The couple, from West Malling in Kent, must now wait to celebrate with their friends and family and to go on their honeymoon.