Royston couple relinquish chance of wedding gifts in aid of good causes

Emma Barham and Simon Bird have asked wedding guests to donate to two charities instead of buying th

Emma Barham and Simon Bird have asked wedding guests to donate to two charities instead of buying them gifts. Picture: Courtesy of EHAAT - Credit: Archant

A couple from Royston – who got engaged while walking across Therfield Heath – have relinquished the chance of receiving wedding gifts at their nuptuals this summer in aid of good causes.

Simon Bird and fiancée Emma Barham will tie the knot on June 16 this year, and have asked friends and family to donate to Essex & Herts Air Ambulance and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Simon, 28, who has run two half marathons to raise funds for the air ambulance, said:: “Both my parents already volunteer for Essex & Herts Air Ambulance and I have supported them for many years.

“As a civil engineer, I have seen some horrific accidents on the roads and seen the air ambulance at some of the more critical incidents.

“Emma is a nurse and has seen patients who have been flown in, so we both have a good understanding of the work they do.

“The beauty of the air ambulance is that patients can be taken to the right hospital rather than the nearest one and, to us, it was about supporting something we felt was worthwhile.”

Simon and Emma met in 2013 and got engaged in May 2017, when Simon built up the courage to pop the question while on a walk across the heath one Friday night.

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A year later and they are both putting the finishing touches together for their big day.

Simon said: “The venue, food and wedding dress are sorted and now we just have the finer details left to organise, like getting my speech drafted and start practising!

“We are both happy with our decision to ask guests to donate to our chosen charities. We’ve saved up for our honeymoon and wedding, so we wanted the money to go to those who need it.

“Fundraising is not always about a challenge, it’s about raising money and thinking about ways to do this differently. You don’t have to push yourself, the funds are the important thing.

“Giving time is just as important as giving money, both are necessary to keep charitable organisations going,”

The effort is part of EHAAT’s 20th anniversary year of celebrations. Since the launch of the initiative in June 2017, the charity has had £19,700 donated.

For more information about the life-saving charity visit and to learn about the work of the Alzheimer’s Society see