Ferrets' wedding on the world wide web; Furry friends tie the knot at lavish event.
LOVESTRUCK ferrets have tied the knot in a romantic ceremony watched around the world.
The pair - Lady Truffle and fiance Crusher Hoblet - have even been described as "the Wills and Kate of the ferret world".
Their lavish wedding, held at the Chapel of the Pit Village at Beamish Museum in County Durham, was attended by 75 ferret friends and 40 of their owners on Christmas Eve.
The pair wed in a bid to raise the profile of the animals in a service organised by their owners at North Pennine Ferret Welfare. Lady Truffle wore a white silk diamante wedding gown and was picked up in a white Rolls Royce, while her groom, Crusher, wore a light grey tuxedo with light blue dickie bow and a carnation in his lapel.
Owner Karen Webb, who runs the North Pennine Ferret Welfare, and partner Barrie Bellwood, said wedding gifts had been arriving from as far away as Australia and America.
Karen, 49, of Stanley, County Durham, said: "The day was magic. We've had tremendous support from all over the world and people were getting up at 5.30am in America to watch the wedding over a video link broadcast live.
"I was feeling frazzled as I've been planning their wedding for three months, but it's been worth it.
"We had the ceremony on Christmas Eve because it's for fun, but there's also a serious side - to get publicity for the work that we do raising the profile of ferrets and providing a rescue home for them. It's really put a smile on people's faces.
"We've had gifts from all around the world - blankets, wedding bells and badges to wear. Crusher and Truffle have been described as the Wills and Kate of the ferret world and they are very popular - hundreds of people watched the ceremony over the internet."
Lady Truffle walked down the aisle to the song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and the pair left happily married to the sounds of Barry White's My First, My Last, My Everything.
The ferret guests enjoyed their own special wedding cake made of chicken wings, kibble, and lamb livers mixed with gelatine.
Crusher was joined by "best man" Monsta Ferret, and had three ushers - Dexter, Crazy Crawford and Nelson.
Lady Truffle had bridesmaids Gracie, Garlic and Claudia.
The ferrets and their owners enjoyed a reception at Pets at Home in Washington later in the afternoon.
North Pennine Ferret Welfare homes 58 ferrets, with 34 permanent residents and the rest looking to be re-homed.
Animals are brought to the centre if they have suffered neglect, or if domesticated ferrets are found in the wild. The welfare home started in 2008 after Barrie, 68, took home a ferret at the request of his late granddaughter. Eden Rebecca Shaw died aged 11 in April 2008 after suffering a rare cancer for 14 months. Karen said: "My partner's granddaughter Eden said she wanted to get grandad Barrie a ferret. She chose the name and where he would live. She used to talk about it all the time, but became very poorly in February 2008 and passed away in April.
"We spotted Crusher at a fur and feather auction when he popped his head out of a box, and we knew we had to take him home."
Since then, the couple set up their own ferret re-homing centre, with Lady Truffle arriving after being terrorised by a dog.
Karen said: "When she first came to us, she was in a terrible state, but now she's doing well.
"When she met Crusher, the two became totally inseparable. If we take one out, the other will not eat or drink anything. Lady Truffle pines after him if he is not around."
She added: "While this is a bit of fun, we are trying to get a serious message across - that ferrets are not nasty animals.
"They make excellent pets and you can train them to live indoors."
DRESSED TO THRILL Lady Truffle, left, and new "husband" Crusher Hoblet, who are said to be inseparable