Rescue team saves Darwen couple's big day with wedding convoy

Julie and Adam Bell share their daughter Natalie’s surprise on her big day as the two bike escorts and seven 4x4 vehicles from the Northwest response unit arrive

Julie and Adam Bell share their daughter Natalie’s surprise on her big day as the two bike escorts and seven 4x4 vehicles from the Northwest response unit arrive

First published in Darwen Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BRIDE whose wedding day was almost ruined by a thief got the surprise of her life when a convoy of 4x4 rescue vehicles arrived on her big day.

Last month, Andrew Lofthouse and his fiancee Natalie Bell were left devastated when two mopeds they had bought each other as pre-nuptual gifts were stolen from outside their home in Douglas Grove, Darwen.

The bikes were recovered a few days later but had been damaged.

The costs incurred from the incident left Mr Lofthouse, 27, and his 23-year-old bride-to-be unable to afford wedding cars for their big day.

But Natalie’s uncle Jason Laidler, a volunteer with the North East 4x4 Response Team, decided to plan a surprise for them.

Mr Laidler, who helps out at the organisation which consists of 4x4 drivers who assist emergency services in tricky situations, contacted his friends at the North West team.

Between them, they arranged for a convoy of seven to take the new Mrs Lofthouse-Bell to the hotel in Preston.

The convoy was also led by two emergency blood bikers.

Andrew said: “It was a real surprise when I saw Natalie pull up in the 4x4 convoy.

“It was brilliant. Natalie really enjoyed it after she stopped crying. It made her very emotional to have her uncle drive her to the hotel with all the flashing lights.

“It was fantastic and we could not have had a nicer day.”

Natalie’s mum Julie said: “This was a complete surprise to Natalie and she was over the moon. Myself and my husband, Adam, want to thank all the drivers and bikers involved in making our daughter’s wedding so special.”

Mr and Mrs Lofthouse-Bell will enjoy a honeymoon in Blackpool.

Comments (10)

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3:18pm Mon 4 Nov 13

Ian the Beancounter says...

It's a nice story, but it highlights - again - the accuracy (or otherwise) of LT reporting. Spot the deliberate mistake in this quote:

"But Natalie’s uncle Jason Laidler, a volunteer with the North East 4x4 Response Team, decided to plan a surprise for them."
It's a nice story, but it highlights - again - the accuracy (or otherwise) of LT reporting. Spot the deliberate mistake in this quote: "But Natalie’s uncle Jason Laidler, a volunteer with the North East 4x4 Response Team, decided to plan a surprise for them." Ian the Beancounter
  • Score: 0

7:48pm Mon 4 Nov 13

You're not mugging me off that easily says...

At the risk of sounding like eternal tool 2 for 5p I'm going to say the following.

So basically these people have misused the motorcycles which are provided and run at the taxpayers expense. Not only that, they have escorted the bride to the venue whilst displaying blue flashing lights in a non emergency deployment. Extremely irresponsible behaviour. Should an accident have occurred as a result of this then the riders would have found themselves at the very least on a charge of driving without due care and attention, and rightly so.

Blue lights are for emergency situations ONLY not for transporting somebody to a wedding for F sake.
At the risk of sounding like eternal tool 2 for 5p I'm going to say the following. So basically these people have misused the motorcycles which are provided and run at the taxpayers expense. Not only that, they have escorted the bride to the venue whilst displaying blue flashing lights in a non emergency deployment. Extremely irresponsible behaviour. Should an accident have occurred as a result of this then the riders would have found themselves at the very least on a charge of driving without due care and attention, and rightly so. Blue lights are for emergency situations ONLY not for transporting somebody to a wedding for F sake. You're not mugging me off that easily
  • Score: -15

8:47pm Mon 4 Nov 13

Darrens Delivery Service says...

You're not mugging me off that easily wrote:
At the risk of sounding like eternal tool 2 for 5p I'm going to say the following.

So basically these people have misused the motorcycles which are provided and run at the taxpayers expense. Not only that, they have escorted the bride to the venue whilst displaying blue flashing lights in a non emergency deployment. Extremely irresponsible behaviour. Should an accident have occurred as a result of this then the riders would have found themselves at the very least on a charge of driving without due care and attention, and rightly so.

Blue lights are for emergency situations ONLY not for transporting somebody to a wedding for F sake.
Dont be such a misery .They probably put on the blue lights when they were in the private grounds of the hotel. Hope you both have a nice honeymoon.
[quote][p][bold]You're not mugging me off that easily[/bold] wrote: At the risk of sounding like eternal tool 2 for 5p I'm going to say the following. So basically these people have misused the motorcycles which are provided and run at the taxpayers expense. Not only that, they have escorted the bride to the venue whilst displaying blue flashing lights in a non emergency deployment. Extremely irresponsible behaviour. Should an accident have occurred as a result of this then the riders would have found themselves at the very least on a charge of driving without due care and attention, and rightly so. Blue lights are for emergency situations ONLY not for transporting somebody to a wedding for F sake.[/p][/quote]Dont be such a misery .They probably put on the blue lights when they were in the private grounds of the hotel. Hope you both have a nice honeymoon. Darrens Delivery Service
  • Score: 12

10:25pm Mon 4 Nov 13

CarefulReader says...

If you do some research you might find that 'Blood Bikes' are a charity and the bikes are the personal bikes of the volunteers who selflessly give up their time, vehicle and fuel to help others receiving no recompense from the public purse!

Also at no point is a blue light escort mentioned, I very much doubt that 'blues' were used as I'm sure many of my colleagues in traffic would have had something to say about that.
If you do some research you might find that 'Blood Bikes' are a charity and the bikes are the personal bikes of the volunteers who selflessly give up their time, vehicle and fuel to help others receiving no recompense from the public purse! Also at no point is a blue light escort mentioned, I very much doubt that 'blues' were used as I'm sure many of my colleagues in traffic would have had something to say about that. CarefulReader
  • Score: 13

5:48pm Tue 5 Nov 13

Dan Clough says...

Ian the Beancounter wrote:
It's a nice story, but it highlights - again - the accuracy (or otherwise) of LT reporting. Spot the deliberate mistake in this quote:

"But Natalie’s uncle Jason Laidler, a volunteer with the North East 4x4 Response Team, decided to plan a surprise for them."
Unless I am missing the point entirely, Mr Laidley IS a volunteer with the North EAST team, and got in touch with his friends from the North West team. The family has links to that area of the country.
[quote][p][bold]Ian the Beancounter[/bold] wrote: It's a nice story, but it highlights - again - the accuracy (or otherwise) of LT reporting. Spot the deliberate mistake in this quote: "But Natalie’s uncle Jason Laidler, a volunteer with the North East 4x4 Response Team, decided to plan a surprise for them."[/p][/quote]Unless I am missing the point entirely, Mr Laidley IS a volunteer with the North EAST team, and got in touch with his friends from the North West team. The family has links to that area of the country. Dan Clough
  • Score: 1

5:48pm Tue 5 Nov 13

Dan Clough says...

Laidler!
Laidler! Dan Clough
  • Score: 1

10:07am Wed 6 Nov 13

motherofthebride says...

i would just like to clarify a few things! the drivers are all volunteers!!! who give up there own time use there own vehicles,own fuel, not tax payers money!!!! they are a registered charity!!!! we DID NOT HAVE A BLUE LIGHT ESCORT!!!! the lights you can see were for photos only! we are related to Jason and our family roots go over to yorkshire it was jason who has friends in the north west team, "carefulreader" got it spot on they use there own bikes time etc and were not obviously on duty!!!!!!!!! 4x4 response give a service to the emergency services to help them out, FREE OF CHARGE!
i would just like to clarify a few things! the drivers are all volunteers!!! who give up there own time use there own vehicles,own fuel, not tax payers money!!!! they are a registered charity!!!! we DID NOT HAVE A BLUE LIGHT ESCORT!!!! the lights you can see were for photos only! we are related to Jason and our family roots go over to yorkshire it was jason who has friends in the north west team, "carefulreader" got it spot on they use there own bikes time etc and were not obviously on duty!!!!!!!!! 4x4 response give a service to the emergency services to help them out, FREE OF CHARGE! motherofthebride
  • Score: 11

10:26am Wed 6 Nov 13

motherofthebride says...

quote from bloodbikes website
"A free of charge voluntary medical transport service.. what’s the catch?
There is no catch, we are just volunteers giving something back to the community!" the two lads in the photo were not on duty it was their day off and wanted to help out and be part of a special day, they got involved because natalies and Andys bikes had been stolen (3) this year they thought it would be nice to have bikes in the convoy.
quote from bloodbikes website "A free of charge voluntary medical transport service.. what’s the catch? There is no catch, we are just volunteers giving something back to the community!" the two lads in the photo were not on duty it was their day off and wanted to help out and be part of a special day, they got involved because natalies and Andys bikes had been stolen (3) this year they thought it would be nice to have bikes in the convoy. motherofthebride
  • Score: 11

1:19pm Sat 9 Nov 13

shinyheed says...

Jason Laidler is not a member of 4x4 Response North East, and 4x4 Response North East had no connection with this or knowledge of this happening
Jason Laidler is not a member of 4x4 Response North East, and 4x4 Response North East had no connection with this or knowledge of this happening shinyheed
  • Score: -4

10:11am Mon 11 Nov 13

chairman @ nw4x4response says...

I can only further confirm what has been said above. I am the Chairman of North West 4x4 Response and myself and five other members from our group who attended felt very proud that our OWN vehicles were so useful on the day and to see the reaction from Natalie when we pulled up was great. It was a quiet side road and it was only when we pulled into it that the lights were turned on. Once we were out on the road ALL beacons were turned off.
Once we arrived at the registry office we turned the lights on for the immediate approach as this was off the main roads and well away from anyone that could have been confused by the lights being used. At no point was the wedding party escorted whilst using the beacons, being either amber on our members vehicles or the blue ones on the Blood Bikes, whilst on the public highway otherwise we would have been stopped at least by the Police BMW X5 traffic vehicle that pulled off the M55 as we were passing. In fact, as we headed towards the centre of Preston it actually looked as though they were joining us at one point! Once the service was finished we were parked outside with the amber lights on our 4x4's turned on for a nice greeting for the wedding party. By this time the bikes had had to go as they needed to get themselves ready as the two riders were on duty that night which just emphasises the fact that they were doing this in their OWN TIME and the bikes they were riding were their OWN BIKES. As also mentioned, the 4x4's are our own vehicles and we used our own fuel.
Also to try and clarify slightly, Jason Laidler USED to be a responder with the North East group. He has since left that one, but is still a member of a 4x4 Response group at present.
It saddens me that some people are wrongly jumping to conclusions about the people who helped make this couples day that extra bit special.
I can only further confirm what has been said above. I am the Chairman of North West 4x4 Response and myself and five other members from our group who attended felt very proud that our OWN vehicles were so useful on the day and to see the reaction from Natalie when we pulled up was great. It was a quiet side road and it was only when we pulled into it that the lights were turned on. Once we were out on the road ALL beacons were turned off. Once we arrived at the registry office we turned the lights on for the immediate approach as this was off the main roads and well away from anyone that could have been confused by the lights being used. At no point was the wedding party escorted whilst using the beacons, being either amber on our members vehicles or the blue ones on the Blood Bikes, whilst on the public highway otherwise we would have been stopped at least by the Police BMW X5 traffic vehicle that pulled off the M55 as we were passing. In fact, as we headed towards the centre of Preston it actually looked as though they were joining us at one point! Once the service was finished we were parked outside with the amber lights on our 4x4's turned on for a nice greeting for the wedding party. By this time the bikes had had to go as they needed to get themselves ready as the two riders were on duty that night which just emphasises the fact that they were doing this in their OWN TIME and the bikes they were riding were their OWN BIKES. As also mentioned, the 4x4's are our own vehicles and we used our own fuel. Also to try and clarify slightly, Jason Laidler USED to be a responder with the North East group. He has since left that one, but is still a member of a 4x4 Response group at present. It saddens me that some people are wrongly jumping to conclusions about the people who helped make this couples day that extra bit special. chairman @ nw4x4response
  • Score: 13

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