Covid: Aussie-UK couple marry in Buckinghamshire after 20 months apart

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Chris and Penny

Chris and Penny Quealy spent 20 months apart due to Covid travel restrictions

Australian Chris Quealy, 72, was given dispensation to leave Australia, after he proposed to Penny Steven, 69, from Amersham, over Zoom in 2020.

The couple were reunited at Heathrow Airport in October and their wedding took place in Buckinghamshire on Saturday.

Mrs Quealy said it was “brilliant” to finally be husband and wife.

Chris and Penny

“We are now man and wife,” Mr Quealy said.

“It’s taken a long time and a lot of challenges but we are here – we did it, we did it, we did it!”

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The wedding was live-streamed for Chris’s family in Australia who were unable to travel for the occasion.

“All the family got to see it so that’s the main thing,” Penny said.

Chris Quealy and Penny Steven

The pair said they could not wait to get married when they were reunited at Heathrow Airport in October

Mum-of-four Penny met grandfather Chris, who is from the Gold Coast, in May 2015, during a solo trip to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

The couple regularly travelled the 10,000 or so miles between their homes, with Penny returning to Amersham from her last visit to Australia on 3 February 2020.

Chris was supposed to follow – but lockdown hit in March.

In August, the Australian government granted Chris a travel exemption so the couple could get married in England.

Penny said it had been a “very tough” time for the couple, who had been having twice-daily phone conversations.

“It has made us stronger,” she said.

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