Cathedral wedding for pair who fell in love watching famous falcons

Chris Skipper and Kim Paul will be the first couple to marry at Norwich Cathedral since October.

Chris Skipper and Kim Paul will be the first couple to marry at Norwich Cathedral since October. - Credit: Chris Skipper

Wedding bells will ring at Norwich Cathedral for the first time in six months for a couple who met photographing the building's famous peregrines.

Cathedral volunteers Chris Skipper and Kim Paul, from Costessey, have had to wait nearly a year longer than planned after the pandemic postponed their big day.

The couple, who will marry on April 17, met on the bench near Edith Cavell's grave and through their mutual love of photography of the peregrines nesting on the spire of the cathedral, their romance began.

Wildlife photographer Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwi

Wildlife photographer Chris Skipper proposed to his girlfriend, Kim Paul, in the bell tower of Norwich Cathedral. Picture: Tony Denton - Credit: Tony Denton

In 2019, Mr Skipper pulled off a proposal that will "go down in history" when he popped the question to his future wife on the cathedral bell tower as the pair were ringing the falcons.

With the plan to marry at "their second home" and the place they first met, they set the date for May 2 2020.

Mr Skipper said "nothing was said about Covid" when they attended wedding preparations on February 29 2020 with the Rev Canon Andy Byrant,


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But little did they know when they returned home from the cathedral on March 23 the country was about to enter lockdown for the first time.

Miss Paul said: "We had literally left the cathedral, got home and it was lockdown. Everything was put on hold.

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"It was quite stressful. It was the uncertainty of not knowing when it was happening. I had got excited and all of a sudden we had gone into lockdown and I was so deflated.

"Andy has been brilliant at keeping our spirits up when we have felt low.

"It's amazing [we're the first wedding since October], that's really exciting and that feels really special."

Mr Skipper proposed to Miss Paul on the bell tower while they were ringing the peregrine falcons.

Mr Skipper proposed to Miss Paul on the bell tower while they were ringing the peregrine falcons. - Credit: Chris Skipper

Their dream day was due to be in front of 200 people in the nave with hymns sung by the cathedral's choir followed by a reception planned for 150.

Under the guidelines the couple can have a maximum of 15 guests and no singing, but have decided to go ahead with plans for a larger event in future.

Instead of marrying in the nave, the service will be held in the cathedral's presbytery by the Rev Canon Byrant in front of 13 of their closest friends and family.

Mr Skipper, 43, said: "It's about us getting married. You never know what is around the corner, and next year we can have the celebration.

"A lot of people have lost their loved ones to Covid. We are lucky we are going to get married in front of our families who did make it through. There are going to be lots of brides and grooms who do not have their parents there, that is a sobering thought."

The couple plan to return to the cathedral on June 11 2022 to renew their wedding vows in front of everyone intended to be there on their initial big day.

Chris Skipper and Kim Paul will marry at Norwich Cathedral on April 17.

Chris Skipper and Kim Paul met through their love of photography and the peregrines and will marry at Norwich Cathedral on April 17. - Credit: Chris Skipper

Miss Paul said: "We're getting the best of both worlds, it is like getting married twice and this is the practice run.

"I'm saving my dress for that big day. By then we are hoping things will be back to some kind of normal and we can."

The couple have been fitted in for haircuts as hairdressers open for the first time from April 12, with Mr Skipper slotting in for a trim the day before the service.

Miss Paul will be walked down the aisle by her stepfather, retired Royal Navy serviceman Brian Whileman, wearing his uniform.

Kim Paul and Chris Skipper with the weathercock when it was brought down for restoration last summer.

Kim Paul and Chris Skipper with the weathercock when it was brought down for restoration last summer. Kim's grandfather helped restore the cockerel in 1963. - Credit: Kim Paul

The cathedral also holds further special memories for Miss Paul as her late grandfather was among the team who helped restore the weathercock on top of the spire back in 1963.

"He'll be there in spirit," said Miss Paul.


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