Gazza finds a match to celebrate match in style

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The Independent Online
Although it did not have the intended fairytale prelude of England carrying off the European Championship, the wedding of the England footballer Paul Gascoigne to his long-time girlfriend, Sheryl Failes, was nevertheless celebrated in style yesterday at a country house hotel.

Gazza and Sheryl exchanged vows before a 100-strong congregation including family, old friends from his native Tyneside, England's Euro 96 squad and the former England coach Terry Venables.

The ceremony, which cost pounds 100,000, gave the England side something to celebrate after last Wednesday's defeat on penalties by Germany at Wembley.

Gascoigne booked up every room in the hotel at Thundridge near the couple's Hertfordshire home at an estimated cost of pounds 15,000, ensuring there were no unwelcome guests or prying representatives of the press. However, a journalist from Hello! attended the wedding. The magazine was understood to have paid around pounds 150,000 for an invitation.

Ms Failes, 31, swept down the hotel's oak grand staircase from the minstrels' gallery into the main hall in a pale pink tulle wedding dress. Gascoigne, 29, arrived sipping champagne in the back seat of a 25ft white Cadillac stretch limousine.

To the disappointment of around 80 fans who gathered at the hotel's gates, the nine-vehicle fleet of stretch limos which brought the England stars to the hotel had darkened windows.

A Tottenham fan, Sarah Bentley, 23, of Hertford, had taken the day off work to wave a Gazza banner. She said: "I've liked him ever since he played for Tottenham. I just wish he would come out and say hello."

The couple each picked favourite romantic songs for the DJ, Chris Evans, to play on their big day. Sheryl's choice was the classic Righteous Brothers weepie "Unchained Melody", while Gazza picked Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Loved You".

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