For the Lifeboats!

As all of the very few people who read my blog will know, I am a big supporter of the RNLI. The charity has been close to my heart since childhood, I used to build lifeboats out of lego bricks, subscribe to Stormy Stan’s monthly magazine and became known as Lifeboat Lolly. I recall with glee the fantastic opportunity I had once to sit on the Atlantic 75 stationed at Hunstanton Lifeboat Station. As I grew up into a bigger lifeboat lolly I dropped the name but didn’t drop the passion for the charity, I was lucky enough to have had the chance to ride aboard the Sheerness Trent class lifeboat in the Thames Estuary and with my friend @geekyjames visited all almost all of the lifeboat stations in the North West Wales area in one day.

Getting married is of course a huge life milestone and it wouldn’t be right to not acknowledge the RNLI in some way during such a big event - so we did. I am incredibly proud and honoured to say that on our wedding day we were able to raise £691.43 for the RNLI. It was absolutely fantastic to see such generosity from everyone and while it may not be the best part of the day (that was marrying Mrs Andrews!) it was absolutely up there with the warmest and most lovely part of the day and year. I stomped around Commissioners House in by big stupid yellow wellies shaking a fund-raising bucket and was met with nothing but eager desire for everyone to do their bit for the lifeboats. So to all who contributed on our special day - thank you! A special thank you also to Eileen and John Allison of the Medway RNLI Fundraising branch who were incredibly helpful and kind in providing literature, goodies and the famous lifeboat buckets which made everything very special.

As mentioned in my previous post, it was totally coincidental that in getting married at Commissioner’s House meant that we were right next door to the biggest collection of historic RNLI Lifeboats. Frankly, it would be rude to to take advantage of that fact and so we wandered over passing cheering visitors to have a few photos. My particular favourite is the photo below, where in totally agreeable circumstances we stood aboard a Arun Class lifeboat! Thank you to Mrs Andrews for putting up with me just minutes after being married!

A Very Special Birthday

Birthdays are always a bit special for us since we share the same day. Every year since Victoria and I have been together we have done something special on our birthday to celebrate. It seems like the level of birthday extravagance increases year on year, last year we went spent a weekend in Singapore, in 2015 we flew in a Helicopter over London and in 2013 we went to the top of the newly-opened Shard.

This year was a little different; it was the most extravagant thing and the best birthday present we could have ever imagined: We got married! …and it was absolutely perfect.

We held our reception and ceremony at the beautiful Commissioner’s House in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard. The venue was fantastic, we were on the banks of the River Medway and a stone’s throw from home and where we first met over ten years earlier. The weather gods were with us for the day and we spent time in the gardens around the house taking photographs with all of our wonderful guests.

Everyone thought I was crazy, but there was only one way I was getting to our wedding and that was on a boat. The Medway is a constant in my life, though growing up, sailing, spending time with grandparents and of course meeting Victoria. We arranged for Bellis of Medway Yacht Club take us on the 10 minute journey to Thunderbolt Pier just outside Commissioner’s House. Thankfully the river wasn’t too choppy and we all arrived safety, although I did wear my wellies just encase!

We held our ceremony on the first floor of Commissioner’s house in a gorgeous room with floor to ceiling glass doors. All of our guests were here on time, a group of people that I’ve never seen together before which was really quite overwhelming! Seeing Victoria in her dress for the first time was more overwhelming, she was absolutely stunning. While we were messing around on the boat she and her bridesmaids had been busy getting ready in the room next door. Victoria’s dress was absolutely gorgeous, looking her in the eye on that Friday is a moment that I’ll never forget.

We had the opportunity to take some fantastic photographs around the dockyard. We were able to visit No.3 slip, built in 1838 which is an absolutely incredible space, we were very lucky to have it all to ourselves. We also visited the Tarred Yarn Store, adjacent to the Ropery, it’s a bit of a secret and famously used in a Kanye West music video. Best of all, we were able to visit the biggest collection of RNLI lifeboats which happens (totally coincidentally) to be located at the dockyard - more on that in another post.

A special day doesn’t quite give it justice, absolutely the best day of our lives. We couldn’t have asked for anything more, we had each other, our friends, our family, a perfect part of the world, fresh Cornish beer and an amazing time.