A British couple got married in Rhodes yesterday – although their escape was halted after wildfires broke out on the Greek island.
Rob Heasman, 38, and his bride Kirstie Galvin, 32, have spent the last two and a half years planning their big day.
The couple packed their wedding dress and suits and went to bed on Saturday night before leaving for Luton Airport at 2.45am.
But just before 1am, they were woken up by a call from Rob’s groomsmen with the devastating news that their EasyJet flight had been canceled at the last minute due to the unfolding wildfire crisis.
Kirstie broke down in tears before the family got together to save the big day.
After dozens of phone calls, they secured a new EasyJet flight 24 hours later – as the airline decided, unlike some other operators, to resume flights to Rhodes.
The wedding party arrived on the Greek island on Monday – as wildfires were still raging in some areas.
Against all odds, the happy couple walked down the aisle in front of 50 family and friends in ancient Kallithea Springs yesterday.
They were declared husband and wife as brave firefighters battled the blazes that were wreaking havoc 20 miles away in Gennady.
Enthusiastic tiler Rob said: “It’s a miracle we’ve come this far. We feared that we would have to cancel the wedding.
“We never gave up hope and after a brief panic we all pulled together and did the impossible.” Marketing director Kirstie looked stunning in a white wedding dress and a nervous Rob wiped away tears as they exchanged rings and “Yes, I do” said.
The couple, who have two children, Nuala, six, and Brielle, two, have refused to postpone the wedding.
Kirstie’s mum Mandy Galvin, 57, said: “After numerous phone calls we reached a lovely lady at easyJet who promised to do whatever she could to help. Four hours later she called and said we were taking a new flight the next day.”
Kirstie, from Bedford, said: “Of all the islands in the world and all the data, we couldn’t believe our luck when the wildfires broke out.”
A spokesman for easyJet said: “We are delighted that our Account Manager has made alternative arrangements for you all to allow your big day to go ahead as planned.”
But some couples have been heartbroken after their weddings were called off. Student nurse Tarnya Kemp, 43, and production worker Colin Saunders, 55, have spent £32,000 to tie the knot in Lindos – where numerous wildfires are burning – this Sunday.
After landing in Rhodes, they and their 22 guests were told that their apartments at Lindia Thalassa had been evacuated. They spent two nights on mattresses in a basketball hall before embarking on a grace flight home.
Tarnya, from Kidderminster, Worcs, said: “We’re safe and I’m grateful for that. We can’t get married until I get our money back. I don’t know when that will be.”
A record-breaking heatwave that has ravaged Greece has parched scrubland to tinder and winds have fanned the blazes.
Last night, scientists said July was “almost certain” to become the world’s warmest month on record.
They described the temperatures as “unprecedented” and suspected they were the hottest in 100,000 years.