Raynes Park couple stop off in Richmond to say 'I do' during RideLondon race

Newlyweds: Lisa Russell and Gary Watson arrive at the finish line.

Newlyweds: Lisa Russell and Gary Watson arrive at the finish line.

First published in News
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Wimbledon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Rain, sweat and lycra are a far cry from most wedding couples' wish list for their big day.

But torrential rain yesterday failed to dampen the spirits of a sporty Raynes Park couple who took a breather to tie the knot in the middle of the RideLondon cycle challenge.

Gary Watson, 44, and Lisa Russell, 41, of Vernon Avenue, were pronounced husband and wife at Richmond Park's Pembroke Lodge yesterday morning before cycling the rest of the 86-mile route to The Mall.

Miss Russell, expedition leader at The Ultimate Travel Company, said: "My dad walked me down the aisle in my lycra which was a bit weird but good fun - lycra is the way to go."

The couple were given star treatment by RideLondon organisers, positioned ahead of all the celebrities and more than 20,000 amateur cyclists at the start-line of the race.

Mr Watson, a graphic designer, said: ""We’re not really used to this sort of attention, so it’s been quite strange.

"It’s ironic because we tried to keep it as secret as possible and a lot of people didn’t know about it until last night when we put it on Facebook."

Friends and family attended the ceremony, where their five-year-old daughter Betsy was waiting with the wedding rings.

Mr Watson said: "She didn’t stop smiling all day, she brought the rings over and she looked great in her little dress with bicycles on and all her best mates there as well, it was brilliant."

The cycle-mad pair, who first met travelling around Australia in 1996, are no strangers to long-distance bike rides, with two-wheel treks across Iceland and Norway among their holiday memories.

Miss Russell said: "I loved it, I even didn’t mind the rain, which was probably better than scorching hot sunshine. It was something that we will never forget. I absolutely loved every minute of it."

The couple were cycling in memory of their friend's daughter, Isla, who died aged 15 months from a rare brain tumour.

To donate to the Isla Cecil Brighter Future Fund, visit Miss Russell's Justgiving page

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