Speech Type: Bride
Time to Read Aloud: 11 minutes
Our Favourite Line: “I would like to say thank you to my parents for nurturing my interest in Chelsea. Without them taking me to that game I am sure I would not be standing here today.”
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, relatives, and those people who really came to watch Everton v Chelsea in the White Hart pub – welcome to all of you and thank you for coming to our wedding today which has made it such a very special occasion for my husband and I. This may well be the last time Marc lets me speak before he does, so I’d better make the most of it.
Firstly, I would like to thank Jack for walking me down the aisle and giving me away today and for your kind words as well. I would also thank Jiff, our Master of Ceremonies. I’m not sure if I am supposed to share this, but he has warned each of us he will bang his stick, quietly at first, if we exceed our five-minute time slot so I had better move on.
Welcome to Toynbee Hall! This historic building was the setting for Marconi’s first public radio broadcast demonstration which took place in 1896, perhaps some of you were even here to witness it! Now, over the years, this lecture hall has hosted many high profile speakers including Lenin (that is Vladimir, not John Lennon), Gandhi, several Archbishops of Canterbury, and at least three Prime Ministers. So you will understand that my fellow speakers and I have very large shoes to fill today.
Now, I am aware that some of you here today think that the only reason I am marrying Marc is for his Chelsea season ticket. But, I want to take this opportunity to correct you and take you back almost 41 years to 21 Sept 1974, when I was barely a teenager.
Every year on our birthdays, our parents would grant us a birthday treat – bear in mind, this was long before the era of McDonald’s parties and Alton Towers – I thought long and hard and told my parents I would like to go to a football match. But, it had to be a Chelsea football match. I had unsuccessfully made the same request in previous years but, given I had by then reached the age of 12, my parents finally agreed to take me.
We made a plan and Mum and Dad agreed to take me to watch Ipswich v Chelsea fixture on 22 Sept 1974. This would enable us to fit in a full morning of shopping in Ipswich City Centre followed by lunch in the British Home Stores restaurant ahead of the 3 pm kick-off at Portman Road.
And so the day came, with Dad in charge of logistics, we took up our positions in front of the crush barrier behind the goal and I was beyond excited to see my beloved team run out against Ipswich. Sadly, we lost 2-0 that day but by the time the final whistle went on that rainy afternoon, I was well and truly hooked on the Blues. We stayed up late to watch the game on Match of the Day and I am sure I glimpsed myself in the crowd on the telly.
I still have the match programme from that day and, looking at the back page, I can tell you that other fixtures that day included: Arsenal v Luton in the old first division – Dave, I am sure you were there and would confirm that the match ended 2-2 – and, in the old second division, Manchester United were entertaining Bristol Rovers with the home side winning 2-0.
So I would like to say thank you to my parents for nurturing my interest in Chelsea. Without them taking me to that game, I am sure I would not be standing here today. Unfortunately, we lost Dad last year at the ripe old age of 92. So I would ask you to raise your glasses to toast my dad, other absent friends, and, of course, my mum.
Special thanks must also go to last Saturday’s hen party, all 21 of us who enjoyed such a great ladies day at Kempton park races. It was lovely to see my friends enjoying themselves together and making my last weekend as a Miss such great fun. By the way ladies, butlers in the buff are scheduled to arrive here at Toynbee Hall just after nine this evening.
Moving on to my new husband, when he proposed to me last August in the Highbury Barn pub, which is where we originally met, I was so excited and proud to become his bride to be. I am sure those of you who know him will agree that Marc is caring, funny, thoughtful, and loving. Having met his mum, Pam, I can understand where he gets these traits from. He has certainly passed these qualities on to his three lovely children: Jack, Naomi, and Oliver. They have all made me feel so welcome and I am so excited and proud to become part of the family.
Drawing to a close, I wanted to share a quote with you which sums up how I hope marriage with husband Marc will be. It is from one of my favourite books, Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, and it reads: “And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be – and whenever I look up, there will be you.”