A Thanet photographer has praised the community spirit in Cliftonville after street drinkers outside St Paul’s Church presented a pair of newlyweds with a bottle of fizz.
Philippa Jones, of Photogenic Photography, was hired to take the pictures at the wedding of Cliftonville couple Terry Robinson and Maggie Burns last Saturday (June 16).
The event was already a community effort with family and friends rallying around to provide food and trimmings for the special day.
But it was the gesture of strangers outside the Northdown Road church that prompted Philippa to speak out.
She said: “The bride had asked that the group and formal photos were taken at the reception venue as she didn’t want to disturb the people that congregate outside the church on the benches on a daily basis, the people that sit and drink and have nowhere else they would rather be.
“However, as we exited the church every single one of them stood up from their bench and removed themselves.
“We took a confetti shot with ease and then the guests went on the reception venue, (which had been decorated by them as well as contributing food and help).
“The couple and I had to wait for the wedding car, so took the opportunity to take some portrait shots in the garden.
“The people that had been on the bench reappeared and as we walked through them to go to the car they stood up and gave the couple a round of applause.
“Some of them asked me how to say congratulations in English and then suddenly a man appeared, looking very pleased with himself, with a blue carrier bag. He produced a bottle of Asti Spumante and shouted “from us to you” … “one for you… and one for me!” as he pulled another bottle from his bag to a big cheer!
“These people had clubbed together to buy this couple a bottle to celebrate. The couple had never met them before. Regardless of their circumstances, race or religion, these people have nothing yet they clubbed together their bit of money to celebrate with this couple.
“The bride was totally overwhelmed! This is a community but it is a hard area to live in and, I should imagine, a very hard area to have as parish.
“I saw a different side to Cliftonville and the sense of community will stay with me for some time to come.”