Fairytale wedding for couple

HERE comes the bride.For one family watching their daughter and sister walk down the aisle today is set to be a day of “overwhelming” emotion.

HERE comes the bride.

For one family watching their daughter and sister walk down the aisle today is set to be a day of “overwhelming” emotion.

Katie Baxter, 27 and her childhood sweetheart Gavin Harvey, 26 are tying the knot at St Thomas the Apostle Church on Cromer Road, Ipswich this afternoon.

And for the bride's family the couple's engagement last year came as a “bolt out of the blue.”

Both Katie and her husband-to-be have Downs Syndrome and the bride's older sister Jayne Baxter said it is the first marriage like it in the area, for as long as she can remember.

Jayne said: “Going back to when Katie was little, Downs Syndrome was looked upon badly and there really was not much hope for their future.

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“In a way the stigma is still carried on but society is better at accepting people now.

“To see a young couple like Katie and Gavin is an inspiration. She has been living independently for 10 years now and with Gavin for two years, and now they are getting married.

“It came as a bolt out of the blue, none of us thought it would happen we are all just so pleased it is.

“I have not known a wedding like this before, our whole family are incredibly proud.”

She said her family are keen for other families with children who have Downs Syndrome to realise there is hope their relative can lead a full and normal life, just like Katie and Gavin, who are looking forward to planning a family of their own one day.

And ahead of her big day, bride-to-be Katie said the nerves were starting to show.

“I am really looking forward to the day. I have got butterflies already though. I am really excited,” she said.

“I don't think I will cry, I will be too happy.”

The couple met more than ten years ago at Beacon Hill School and after moving in together two years ago, Gavin surprised his sweetheart getting down on one knee on January, 14 last year.

Katie said: “We all went out for dinner and then when we came back here, I was in the kitchen getting a drink for my friend.

“Gavin had turned the music on in the lounge really loud. I went in to see what he was doing.

“And he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

“No-one had any idea, they didn't see it coming, and I didn't know either.”

Jayne said the day would be a particularly proud one for her parents.

She added: “I am incredibly proud of my parents, it is down to my mother that Katie is how she is.

“My parents are totally overwhelmed.

“She is having the whole works just because she is special needs does not mean we have held back.”

She said her mother Ann Baxter, from Felixstowe, has despite her poor health dedicated herself to Katie, thriving on her youngest daughter, doing a “fantastic job.”

And for Katie, who was adopted when she was just six months old, the day will be made more special still by the presence of her birth mum and dad, from Arizona, USA.

She said: “My whole family will be there, I am so excited.”