I'm missing England's big day...for my daughter's even bigger one!

Landlord Paul Cookson
Landlord Paul Cookson
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For any pub landlord, World Cup Final day would be one of the biggest of the decade.

But Paul Cookson will be miles away from his own bar – as his step daughter is getting married on the day.

The big day – the wedding, of course – has been booked for two years when no one was thinking of England and World Cup glory.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man – and the 57-year-old just knew that he had to step up on the day.

“I’ll be there for 1.30pm, it starts about 2pm and I’ll be walking her down the aisle at 2.30pm, so I’ll be sat down eating when the game’s on,” said Leyland man Paul, who has been landlord at the Queen’s for the last six years.

“I’ve got contingency plans for the pub.”

Step-daughter Rachael Jones, 35, will marry Gavin Clark, 27, from Blackburn, in Manchester on her late father’s birthday – the reason she chose that date.

Rachael and Gavin both work as personal trainers – Rachael in Wigan and Gavin in Blackburn.

They met through their work and live in Buckshaw Village, near Chorley.

The wedding ceremony and reception are taking place at the Bays, Victoria Warehouse, Stretford.

The family have seen the funny side of it all – especially with Gavin’s parents being Scottish.

Paul said he remembered England winning the World Cup for the one and only time in 1966.

“After 52 years, it’s just dropped on the same date,” he sighed.

“But it’s a good bit of fun.”

He said: “In all seriousness I was always going to the wedding – ruddy hell, I’d get killed otherwise.

“We never expected England to get this far, but they’re a young squad and done very well.

“After 52 years, I’ve waited fifty two years, I’m gutted it’s happened this year.

“But it’s just one of those things, you just go with the flow.

“It was walking my daughter down the aisle, stopping in the pub with the lads and enjoying the game, or do I get divorced - the wife voted for divorce.”

The match action won’t be far away from him, though.

“I’ll have my phone in my pocket and the earphones on,” said Paul, who is married to Susan.

“I haven’t even written my dad’s speech yet, I’ll do it after Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Sunday will be a happy hat-trick for Paul.

Rachael will be his third daughter he has walked down the aisle to get married.