You may now give the bride a big bear hug!

OUR ROYAL WEDDING WEDDING AND HEN NIGHT GEDC0722'AWAITING CAPTIONS'From: hilary hetherington [mailto:hilary.hetherington80@ntlworld.com]
OUR ROYAL WEDDING WEDDING AND HEN NIGHT GEDC0722'AWAITING CAPTIONS'From: hilary hetherington [mailto:hilary.hetherington80@ntlworld.com]

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TODDLERS celebrated the forthcoming Royal Wedding in a unique way – by taking part in the wedding of two toy pandas.

The ceremony was organised by the First Rowner South Rainbows group and conducted by the Gosport Deanery Priest, Brian Williams ahead of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day on April 29.

The Rev Brian Williams at the ceremony

The Rev Brian Williams at the ceremony

Each of the 14 under-sevens posed as bridesmaids in dresses made out of lilac bin bags and shawls created from sequined material which was donated to the organisation.

They carried flower bouquets made from tissue paper. Photos from the event along with some of the young members’ drawings will be made into a card and sent to William and Kate to congratulate them.

Group leader Hilary Hetherington said: ‘The wedding was wonderful and the Rainbows loved it, especially the bit when they got to throw the confetti.

‘The pandas have an official wedding certificate now, signed by the vicar and they’ve gone on their honeymoon.’

There were also two flower girls, a page boy and guests at the event, including the region’s county commissioner for Girlguiding Jacqui Dixon and their county president Barbara Grayson.

The youngsters earned themselves a limited-edition wedding challenge badge – specially created for the Royal wedding.

While taking the service exactly as he would if it were a real wedding, the Rev Brian Williams explained to the troop what was happening.

He said: ‘The ceremony was a great way to show the children what marriage is all about. I tried to keep them engaged by explaining the meaning of what I was doing.

‘It was a very unusual ceremony for me but it was great fun and a really good way for the church to reach out to youngsters in the community.

‘That’s the really nice thing about the Royal wedding, it’s drawing lots of people together and at this time of economic hardship and cuts, it’s great to have something else to focus on that brings a bit of joy to everyone.’