Bad break bride gets first dance a year late

Amanda and Paul French on their wedding day at Astley Hall. Picture by Adam Beazley

Amanda and Paul French on their wedding day at Astley Hall. Picture by Adam Beazley

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While many married couples enjoy their first dance within hours of their wedding, Amanda and Paul French had to wait a whole year.

For bride Amanda broke her leg during her hen party - just two weeks before the wedding – and had to go down the aisle at Astley Hall in a wheelchair.

It was not the start to married life that the couple were expecting.

But 51-year-old Amanda is now back on her feet and danced with her husband on Sunday as they celebrated their first wedding

anniversary.

They went to a country and western night in aid of Emma’s Dream, a barge boat that Chorley mum Julie O’Keefe hopes to buy in memory of her daughter, Emma Winstanley, to turn into a place where teenagers who have mental illnesses can go for a short break.

Amanda, who lives on a boat in Adlington, organised a 1970s-themed hen party, with fancy dress, at Wigan Roller Rink.

Everything went well for the first 12 minutes, but then Amanda fell over and broke two bones in her right leg.

“When I went down everyone was saying I had just got a bump, but I thought it was quite serious. I had to get an ambulance,” she said.

“I told the hen party to carry on and I thought I would meet them later for a meal in Chorley and go for karaoke and to the pubs.

“I didn’t want anyone to tell my then husband-to-be so I waited to the last minute. When they said I was having an operation, I knew I wouldn’t make the meal.”

Paul, 59, was having his stag party at The Spinners Arms in Adlington at the same time and “clumsy” Amanda said he “wasn’t surprised” when he found out what had happened.

It was the second time she had broken a bone roller skating, after breaking her arm at the age of 14.

The couple did not consider cancelling their wedding, but instead made changes following the accident.

Amanda could not wear the shoes she had planned, so wore knitted shoes instead.

Amanda, who opened Dolly Blue Laundry at Coppull Mill earlier this month, said: “I had been for a practise at the venue and walked down the aisle in step to the song I had chosen.

“I had to be wheeled down the aisle. I had a walking frame from the hospital for saying my vows and my mum decorated it for me.”

The wedding was followed by a reception on the Romance boat at Riley Green with family and friends.

Amanda said: “It was a bit tricky getting on and off the boat, but I managed it.”

She insists being in a wheelchair did not spoil the “fabulous” day.

She said: “It was different. I didn’t plan on being in a wheelchair, obviously, but it added a bit of humour to the day. Everyone rallied round and it was still fantastic. It didn’t spoil it at all.”

Amanda spent a couple of weeks in the wheelchair and then four months on crutches.

The happy couple, who have four children between them, had to postpone their honeymoon, but finally made it to Rome in May.