Wedding day saved by traffic officer after celebrant breaks down on the M6 in Preston

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A wedding was almost plunged into chaos after the registrar broke down on the M6.

Deborah Bootle had been en-route to help a happy couple tie the knot in Ambleside when she was forced to pull over and call for assistance after getting a puncture between junctions 31a and 32 at Preston.

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Luckily within moments, traffic officer Mark Pickering arrived at the scene and made sure Deborah, also known as the Ribble Valley Celebrant, was safe.

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The happy couple Jake and Charlotte with Ribble Valley Celebrant, Deborah Bootle.The happy couple Jake and Charlotte with Ribble Valley Celebrant, Deborah Bootle.
The happy couple Jake and Charlotte with Ribble Valley Celebrant, Deborah Bootle.

He quickly closed lane one with a red X and cones while Deborah’s tyre was changed, and she was able to set off on her journey once again and make it to the ceremony she came close to missing.

"I was getting nervous”

Deborah said: “I am incredibly thankful to Mark for his prompt response and support. The wedding couldn’t have gone ahead without me, and I was getting more nervous that I wouldn’t make it.

“I often see traffic officers at the side of the motorway, and I hadn’t realised the immense responsibility and importance of their job. Mark’s help made all the difference.”

On-road traffic officers are often first on the scene in an incident. Their priorities are to keep people safe and fully reopen the road as soon as possible.

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They stop traffic to clear obstructions and spills, help remove broken-down vehicles, and support the police and other emergency services by managing road closures when there’s a serious incident.

Mark, who has been a traffic officer with National Highways for six years, said: “I genuinely love my job. Assisting people in difficult situations gives me a sense of fulfilment. It’s rewarding to receive positive recognition at the end of a long shift. It was my pleasure to help Deborah and ensure she arrived at the wedding on time.”

Red X’s

The traffic officer also highlighted the importance of red X signals on the motorway.

He said: “Red X signals ensure the safety of our road users. They indicate lane closures and potential hazards ahead. By complying with the red X, drivers can help prevent accidents and keep traffic flowing. It’s vital that we all understand the importance of the red X to keep everyone on the roads as safe as possible.”

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