Wedding favours draw jeers but Littlehampton couple could be on to a winning streak
Newlyweds who gave out unusual wedding favours were heckled by their guests with cries of '˜rubbish'.
Everyone had been given a £1 Betfred bet on a horse called Wedding Date, which was running at Beverley as the bridegroom made his speech.
Sadly, when the 7/2 shot managed only sixth in the 3.15pm race, Liam Humphrey was drowned out with jeering from the guests.
It was all in good fun, though it drew some sympathy from Betfred boss Fred Done - to the point he gave Liam and his bride Lena Hartl another chance at winning.
Fred said: “It was always sugared almonds or a miniature bottle to toast the couple and back in the 16th century, when the wedding favour tradition started, lumps of sugar.
“But never before have I heard of our betting slips being given out. They might not have won but I’m giving this couple who are racehorse enthusiasts a second chance.”
Fred has arranged for Liam, 37, and Lena, 31, of Bellscross Close, Littlehampton, to have VIP tickets to watch Wedding Date, trained by Richard Hannon, and a refund so they can put the £65 on the two-year-old getting first past the post.
The couple won their wedding reception at Fontwell Park in a competition run by the Chichester Observer series in May last year.
They met while back packing in Australia actually had no plans to get married when they saw the advert in the Herald and Gazette’s sister titles.
Logistics administrator Lena, who is German, met Liam at a hostel near Brisbane where she was working as a cleaner.
He used her nationality to help sway the judges with his entry, saying: “I met my Bavarian Princess over ten years ago backpacking in Australia. Having just moved into our new castle, a dream wedding at Fontwell would complete the fairytale.”
Liam, a company statistician, said they were not even engaged when he saw the competition but they had talked about it.
He said: “We both entered but it was me who made the shortlist from 300 entries and then actually won the VIP wedding at such a great venue with what I have to admit was quite a cheesy story.
“We were going to get everyone a scratchcard then when we were at Brighton, noticed a horse called Wedding Date. Then when we saw the same horse entered at Beverley around the time we were getting married and knew we had to do something, so went to our local Betfred and the staff were great printing out 65 separate betting slips – and they ended up being a big talking point on the day.
“During my speech, there was a degree of heckling because people began to know our so-called lucky horse hadn’t even been placed. There were shouts of ‘rubbish’ when I confirmed Wedding Date had finished sixth.”
The race was run during Liam’s speech and, already-nervous, he found he was jeered by guests who were checking the progress of the race on mobile phones.
Fred stepped in when he heard of the couple’s embarrassment after their efforts to give their friends and relatives at the reception a treat.
Liam said: “Both of us are big horse racing fans and that’s one reason why we live here and not Munich, where we stayed on our way back from Australia.
“Now we have a house, have had a great wedding and a chance, thanks to Fred, to win enough to afford a honeymoon.”