Thieves appeared to have dashed a bride’s dream of being taken to her wedding by her beloved Shetland pony when they stole her carriage.
But fellow residents of Barkestone le Vale and other nearby villages quickly rallied around to buy a new one for Alexandra North.
And on Saturday afternoon her dream came true when she was carried to Barkestone Parish Church in the new carriage pulled by her pony, Sally, who has been a big part of her life for many years.
Alexandra (31) married 39-year-old Adam Wright after travelling to the ceremony in style alongside her father, Graham North.
Afterwards she told the Melton Times: “From the time I broke her in to drive a carriage, I had it in my head that I wanted Sally to take me to my wedding.
“It looked like that would never happen when we had the carriage stolen.
“I am so grateful to everyone who helped me buy a new one.
“Going to the wedding with Sally and my father was very emotional, but magical at the same time.”
Alexandra was up at 5.30am on her wedding day bathing Sally with her other pony, Monty.
The couple’s three children were also at the ceremony - four-year-old Rosie and Bertie, who is 20-months-old, travelled in the carriage before the bride and Sophie (7) went with other family members.
Alexandra felt Sally realised it was a special day.
“She’s very cheeky but also very loyal,” she said.
Alexandra thanked the people from Barkestone, Redmile and Plungar who donated hundreds of pounds towards the cost of her new carriage.
She had no idea about the collection, after the theft back in February, and was amazed when a friend called round with the cash in an envelope.
There were also anonymous donations and other people put money through the door.
“After the carriage was stolen the dream was gone, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the response of people,” added Alexandra.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for what they have done.
“They helped make my dream come true.”
A reception was held for 100 guests in the pony paddock opposite the couple’s home, with a marquee and hay bales for chairs.