Couple overcome crash horror to wed

AN IPSWICH couple celebrated their first day of marriage little more than a year after the groom survived a horrific coach crash.John and Nikki Rigby exchanged vows at Horley Spiritualist Church.

AN IPSWICH couple celebrated their first day of marriage little more than a year after the groom survived a horrific coach crash.

John and Nikki Rigby exchanged vows at Horley Spiritualist Church.

Mr Rigby, 44, was a passenger on a National Express coach that crashed in January 2007, killing two people and injuring numerous others.

The London to Aberdeen National Express coach overturned on a slip road from the M4 to the M25 in west London.

Mr Rigby was on the double-decker coach travelling home to Cumbria following a Christmas spent in Ipswich.

The couple were engaged a month before the crash after meeting on the internet and Mr Rigby was due to move to Ipswich to be with his fiancé.

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He said: “I used to make the 13 hour coach trip here every weekend to see Nikki. I wouldn't normally wear a seatbelt for the journey but after stopping at Heathrow and hearing the safety announcement for the second time, I felt compelled to strap in. Then I remember ending up outside the coach.”

After being thrown onto the road, Mr Rigby immediately began helping those stuck inside the coach. With the help of another passenger, he pulled several people from the wreckage.

The former soldier said: “Army mode switched on and I just went into auto-pilot. Then a Good Samaritan stopped and told us to use his phone to contact our loved ones before the crash made the news.”

Mr Rigby still has nightmares and occasional flashbacks but believes that support from his wife and friends has helped him come to terms with the crash.

Mrs Rigby, 37, believes that sharing the experience has brought them even closer together.

She said: “It made our relationship even stronger and within a fortnight of the crash, John had moved down here to live with me.”

“I remember him calling me when he was sitting on the ground after being thrown from the bus and he said he was going to help the other people.

“All I could hear in the background was screaming and then the phone went dead. The next time I heard from him was when he turned up in a taxi.”

The wedding had an extra special meaning as Mrs Rigby celebrated her birthday as well. It also fell on the same day as the wedding anniversary of her mother, Carol Windsor, who conducted the ceremony.

Mrs Windsor, 57 President of Horley Spiritualist Church, said: “Today was the day husband and I met, the day we were married and the day we had Nicola, our first daughter.

“I'm really pleased that the two souls have found each other. Everyone goes through hard times but John more than most leading up to the wedding.”

The day was truly a family affair, with Mrs Rigby's father, Paul, behind the organ and an appearance from Mr Rigby's sister, whom he hadn't seen in 30 years.

Mr Windsor, 61, said: “It was an absolutely wonderful day and both the bride and groom were very happy.

It was also very emotional as John got to see his sister after so many years.”

The happy couple left the church to go to Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, where they will enjoy a week-long honeymoon.