Newlyweds Spend Wedding Day At Wimbledon Village Fair

Hannah and Chi celebrate with medieval knights

Posing for wedding photos was joust fantastic for a couple who celebrated with medieval knights on horseback at Saturday’s Wimbledon Guild Village Fair.

Hannah Self and Chi Man, who are super-fans of the popular TV series Game Of Thrones, were thrilled to meet the evil Black Knight and his challengers who were entertaining the huge crowd at the fair on Wimbledon Common.

The Wimbledon Guild Village Fair is south London’s biggest free outdoor event and saw around 40,000 people visit the Common for the social welfare charity’s landmark annual fundraising event.

Hannah and Chi are regulars at the fair and when they discovered this year’s event fell on their wedding day, were determined to go along. The fair's organisers, social welfare charity Wimbledon Guild, arranged for the newlyweds to be guests of honour following their wedding ceremony in nearby Sacred Heart Church where Hannah is a Eucharistic minister.

The couple, from Hackbridge, Sutton, met at London’s Go-Ahead bus company where Hannah is General Manager and Chi is a mentor and started going out three years ago. They set the date after Chi proposed on Valentine’s Day last year during a trip to Iceland.

Hannah, aged 34, said: “I wouldn’t miss the Wimbledon Guild Village Fair as it’s such a fantastic community event. I know how much valuable work they do helping people of all ages in the local community.

“Through my pastoral work, I’m aware of the work Wimbledon Guild’s volunteer befrienders do, visiting older people who can’t get out and about in their own homes.  Seeing a friendly face and having some company for a cup of tea can mean the world to people who are alone.

“Chi and I are both massive Game of Thrones fans and love the whole vibe with the good versus evil storylines, so we were absolutely thrilled when Wimbledon Guild told us they had arranged for us to meet the knights and play a part in the jousting tournament.

“It was like being in a mini Game of Thrones episode with all the thundering horses and scary-looking suits of armour but the knights couldn’t have been nicer! I truly felt like a princess and Chi was my knight in shining armour!”

Hannah did the honours of dropping the gauntlet to set off the Knights of Middle England’s second jousting display of the day which saw the Common resound to thundering hooves and the clashing of swords in a colourful, action-packed spectacle.

The couple then toured the fair with their wedding party and guests before heading to nearby Hotel du Vin for the reception, followed by a double-decker bus tour of London.

Chi, 36, added: “The day wouldn’t have been complete without Jeff, our little Shih Tzu dog being there as well and he managed to make a guest appearance. Next year we’ll be entering him in the fair’s Waggy Wimbledon dog show for sure!”

MCs Rick Woska and Charlotte Simmons kicked off the Wimbledon Guild Village Fair by introducing the Knights of Middle England, who officially opened the fair.

Among the guests was the Mayor of Merton, Councillor Brenda Fraser, who praised Wimbledon Guild’s work in the community and the efforts of its volunteers.

She said: “Through my own work I know how important volunteers are in helping charities put on events such as this and the huge amount of effort that is put in by everyone to help the local community.”

As well as the two amazing jousting tournaments, visitors were treated to displays by birds of prey from the Hawking Centre, met some of the small animals from Deen City Farm and enjoyed pony rides.

More than 250 adults and children from local dance and music groups provided entertainment throughout the day on the main stage and in the jazz tent.

They included Wimbledon’s Young Flyers’ aerial dance display, Stagecoach Theatre Arts’ award-winning Thunderbirds routine and music from the Hummingbird Choir and Wimbledon Light Opera Society.

In the chilled out jazz tent, performers included local singer Alexandra Howlett, Feature Creep and the Rob Booth Band.

Young tennis fans had the chance to join a coaching session with fair main sponsor All England Lawn Tennis Club’s head coach Dan Bloxham. Games with Wimbledon Rugby Club and AFC Wimbledon also proved popular while young adrenaline junkies tackled the climbing wall, laser tag and zorb balls.

Foodies and shopaholics browsed the two food villages, farmers’ market and more than 200 stalls featuring locally sourced and handmade goods.

Wimbledon Guild chief executive Wendy Pridmore said: “We were delighted Hannah and Chi played a part in making our biggest annual fundraising event such a fantastic day out for everyone.

“As a local charity, the community's support is vital in helping us to raise funds to help people of all ages across Merton to lead better lives. Our work assisting local people by tackling hardship, supporting ageing and encouraging mental well-being, changes and transforms lives.

“Everyone who comes along to the Wimbledon Guild Village Fair plays an important part in raising funds to help us continue that work and we are grateful for your support."

“We also want to say a huge thank you to all our sponsors  and stallholders, and in particular, our volunteers who worked since the crack of dawn to  set everything up and make sure we all had a fun, fabulous and safe fair this year.”

Wimbledon Guild helps people of all ages across Merton by providing wide range of services. Some, such as those provided by its trained counsellors, are available at little or no cost to ensure people can have access to the help they need.

The charity’s volunteer befrienders provide a lifeline to people who can’t get out and about easily, and its clubs and classes help older people keep fit and lead active lives. Many are also regular visitors to the Guild Cafe where they meet up with friends and enjoy lunch or a coffee.

Wimbledon Guild also offers a small welfare grants programme and has a charity shop in Mitcham. The shop is closed due to flooding and the charity is appealing for donations to help replace damaged stock.

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June 24, 2016

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Hannah Self and Chi Man
(pic credit:Alex Macro)