By Kate Northrop
TRURO, UK — A bride and groom who had their wedding canceled four separate times due to the coronavirus pandemic were at their wit's end after constantly pushing back and rescheduling the event. Hearing about their growing frustration, one lottery winner who scooped up £13 million (US$17,150,965) in 2015 was eager to help contribute to their special day.
Erika Witheridge-Towers, 24 of Truro, England was one of the many disappointed brides whose wedding plans were thrown off by the outbreak of COVID-19. Tired of waiting and exasperated with delays one-after-the-other, Witheridge-Towers decided to move forward with her plans and put together her wedding in just four days.
"After such a difficult year, Aaron and I felt really strongly that we wanted to get married," Witheridge-Towers explained to the UK Mirror. "So, as soon as Boris Johnson made his announcement, I got on the phone to the venue, and when they said they had availability on the 27th, I jumped at it, even though that meant planning everything in just four days."
The couple was originally supposed to wed in May 2020 and had pushed it back a full year later. She changed her mind and decided that she couldn't put it off any longer when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the number of guests allowed at a wedding would be cut from 30 to 15 starting on Sept. 28. She subsequently booked the wedding for Sept. 27.
While she and her husband-to-be would be able to finally tie the knot, this sidelined many other glamorous components that would have made it into her dream wedding were it not for the cancellations. One of those ideas included rolling up to the church in an expensive, top-of-the-line car. Instead, she said she reconciled with relying on her dad's old Audi for transport.
A close family friend heard about the bride-to-be's plight and managed to get in touch with Peter Congdon, 73, who won a lottery prize in May 2015 worth £13 million. Congdon, who owns a fleet consisting of three Range Rovers, two BMWs, and two Bentleys, also had a reputation for generosity.
Moved by Witheridge-Towers' situation, Congdon was more than happy to lend a hand in ensuring their big day was one to remember.
Waiting outside for her on the wedding day was a red limited-edition Bentley Continental Convertible, chauffeured by none other than Congdon himself.
"I couldn't believe my eyes when I stepped outside in my wedding dress to see Peter and his Bentley," Witheridge-Towers recollected. "It was such an incredible moment."
Congdon drove her through the town center of Truro with the roof down on the way to the wedding venue, where the bride recalled people on the side of the road stopping to clap, wave, and wish her well.
"Honestly, I felt like Kate Middleton!" she said. "Of course, if you plan a wedding that quickly, there are bound to be sacrifices, and even though I always dreamt about arriving at my wedding in style, I made peace with making my entrance in my dad's Audi. In the end, I loved the idea of going in my dad's car, but a Bentley really made me feel like I was being taken to our wedding."
As if the gesture wasn't kind enough, Congdon even waited outside the venue throughout the entire wedding ceremony so that the newlyweds would be able to take pictures with the Bentley afterwards.
This is certainly not the first time Congdon stepped in to lend a helping hand. He's also utilized his impressive fleet of cars to drive students from local estates to their school proms. He also spent part of his lottery winnings on mortgage-free houses for all three of his children, Helen, Sharon and Anthony.
"I jumped at the chance to do something special for Erika and Aaron on their wedding day," Congdon said. "Hopefully, it will be a day that they look back on for many, many years to come. This year has been a difficult one for so many people. I'm glad I was able to help them celebrate while they could."