Thelma and Roy’s big fat donkey wedding …

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A GYPSY caravan and rescued donkeys were the backdrop to a joyful family wedding at St Boswells last month.

Adoptive Borderers Thelma Cox, 74, and Roy Deaville, 70, dressed up and got hitched in a gypsy caravan at the Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary on Saturday.

Both keen volunteers at the 80-acre centre, they leapt at owner Rosemary Dale’s suggestion they get married there in the brightly coloured caravan.

“We told the grandkids and they were all over it: the girls had two changes, a bridesmaids outfit and a gypsy one,” said Mr Deaville.

Grizelda, an elderly Clydesdale, was to have been the Hawick couple’s witness: “She was special. We used to go twice a week and feed her tidbits and groom her and take her for walks, give her some TLC, ” said Mr Deaville.

They had looked after her for nearly three years and sponsored her for longer, but the much-loved mare passed away a week before the wedding, aged 37.

Instead the wedding party included family, four donkeys, Toffee the shetland pony, Mrs Dale and sanctuary volunteers. Among the donkeys was Dusty (pictured), saved after kind-hearted readers of TheSouthern and the Sunday Post last year sent the charity money to pay for the £5,000 operation the seven-year-old gelding needed to treat skin cancer.

The newlyweds, of Longbaulk Farm, have been together for 20 years. Former local government officer Mrs Deaville said: “We’re more in love now than ever and tying the knot just feels right. We spend a lot of time at the sanctuary and wouldn’t have wanted our wedding anywhere else.”

“We started volunteering after we had our own horses put to sleep. We couldn’t do without the buzz from horses!, “ said Mr Deaville.

Married previously, the couple each have two children and between them, eight grandchildren.

Mr Deaville said: “We had all the family up for the whole wedding weekend, we had barbecues – it was great.”

The couple are partying again on Saturday, asking local friends to celebrate their marriage and Mr Deaville’s 70th birthday.