Doctor and nurse forced to cancel wedding over coronavirus tie the knot at St Thomas’ Hospital

Josh Salisbury (26 May, 2020)

The loved-up pair from Tulse Hill said they wanted to get married while everyone was healthy - even if guests couldn't attend in person

36980Jann and Annalan marrying at St Thomas' Hospital chapel (Image: Rebecca Carpenter Photography)

A nurse and a doctor who had to cancel their wedding over coronavirus have instead tied the knot at St Thomas’ Hospital, where they work.

Jann Tipping, 34, and Annalan Navaratnam, 30, got married at the Grade 2 listed chapel inside their workplace at the end of April.

The pair, both from Tulse Hill, had been due to say ‘I do’ in August, but had to cancel that ceremony because family would not be able to travel safely from Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland.

But rather than postpone completely, the love-struck couple decided to get married as soon as possible with all their guests watching remotely.

The chaplaincy team at St Thomas’ helped them organise a wedding at the chapel, which dates back to 1870.

A date was set suddenly within two weeks – meaning Jann and Analan had just a fortnight to buy a dress, rings and suit.

Jann and Annalan got special permission to marry in the chapel of the hospital where they work (Image: Rebecca Carpenter photography)

“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,” said Jann, an ambulatory emergency nurse.

“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.”

Annalan, who has been working as a registrar at St Thomas’ for a year, said he had wanted to marry Jann from the moment he popped the question.

“Jann and I wanted to get married from the moment I proposed,” he said.

“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.”

The ceremony, on April 24, was “lovely,” added Jann. “The chapel is beautiful, although it did feel surreal getting married where we work, and in a hospital,” she said.

“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.”

Exterior of St Thomas’ Hospital

At the end of the wedding, the couple hosted a virtual drinks reception for their guests, which included their first dance and speeches – and even sent a case of champagne to their would-be guests’ houses to celebrate.

The chaplain who married them both, Revd Mia Hillborn, said she was delighted to have been able to perform the ceremony with just the couple and legally-required witnesses.

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

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