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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 22:00 GMT
Hurricane couple's zoo ceremony
A couple whose dream wedding was shattered by Hurricane Wilma have tied the knot at a zoo instead.

Management at Chester Zoo waived the fee for a zoo wedding after hearing of the misfortunes of Neil Darwish and Zoe Lock in Cancun, Mexico last October.

The couple were forced to flee their luxury hotel wedding venue without luggage including Zoe's wedding dress.

"It was heartbreaking to hear Neil and Zoe's story," said Jane Lawson, Events Manager at the zoo.

The couple, from Leigh, Greater Manchester, spent the 150mph storm in a run down hotel before they managed to get a flight to Gatwick.

Banking adviser Neil and shop manager Zoe, who have been together for five years, were married in the zoo's boardroom.

'Exotic venue'

"Once they told us what they had gone through then we were only to happy to waive our hire fee and to hold their wedding here," said Ms Lawson.

"Chester may not be as exotic as Mexico but the zoo is still a unique venue for a wedding."

Neil said the couple both love animals but also said: "When Zoe's sister mentioned we could get married at the zoo, we thought she was joking."

However he added: "The whole experience in Mexico was terribly upsetting but the help we have received has been fantastic.

"It took a disaster like Hurricane Wilma to make us realise that there are nice people out there who are willing to help you - people who care."

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