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Byline: KATIE-ANN GUPWELL Reporter

T'S not every day you see a bride on a funfair ride.

ITula Smallman, 37, and Russell Coxon, 43, got hitched in a beach-themed wedding yesterday and took their guests to the funfair to celebrate.

The pair wanted a wedding that would be in keeping with their relationship.

Having met at Ynysawdre swimming pool, Bridgend, where Tula was learning how to swim because she wanted to compete in Iron Man Wales, they decided to make it a beach-themed wedding.

And, as temperatures approached 30degC in Wales, where better to tie the knot than at Porthcawl beach? Tula, who is originally from Cheshire, said: "We wanted to go abroad but then we thought Porthcawl is so beautiful - why don't we get married here? So we spoke to the people at the Hi-Tide pub and they said they had never done it before but we said we would give it a go."

Tula and Russell have only officially been together for 13 months. The bride explained Russell always had feelings for her but she didn't know in the early stages of their friendship - even though he would visit the pool when she was there just to be able to talk to her.

Tula said: "We met three years ago at a swimming pool.

"I was learning how to swim and was telling him I wanted to do Iron Man.

"A year later I did it, but I was friends with him before we ended up together.

"We were really good friends for two years. He helped to teach me how to swim.

"I did Iron Man in 2016 and everyone was shocked."

Russell, who is originally from Maesteg, competed in Iron Man in 2017 to prove that he could also rise to the challenge.

As well as worrying about the weather, Tula hasn't had an easy time leading up to the wedding.

The transport that had been booked to bring her family to Wales cancelled on them just two weeks before, as did the performers who were due to sing at the ceremony.

Last week when Tula went to pick up her wedding dress there were also problems with the alterations.

This led to a very stressful few days for the bride-to-be.

"Nothing has gone smoothly - as from Tuesday I didn't have a wedding dress," she said.

"Russell had to drive me around looking for a new dress."

Apart from the couple's great desire to celebrate on the funfair rides they also had a few more tricks up their sleeves to entertain the guests.

With Tula's family being English, Tula arranged for a big screen to show England's World Cup game against Sweden during the three-course meal at the wedding reception.

"And the wedding is also a Come Dine With Me reunion. I won Come Dine with Me in 2016 and three of my friends from the show are coming. It's the first time we have all met up since."


Enjoying the dodgems

Newlyweds Russell and Tula Coxon had fun at the Coney Beach fairground after getting married in Porthcawl MARK LEWIS

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 8, 2018
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