Being role models for the LGBT community in the Armed Forces sowed the seeds of love between Mandy McBain MBE and Sherry Conway.

The couple, who live in Sarisbury Green, got married in a colourful ceremony at Rhinefield house in the New Forest last month.

Mandy, 49, a retired lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, is now a client account manager for LGBT rights charity Stonewall.

Partner Sherry, 37 is a serving RAF squadron leader critical care nurse, specialising in the care and repratriation of critically injured military personnel.

They have been going to the same LGBT events for the last five years and finally got together two years ago.

Wedding guests. Picture:  Kim Collins

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The relationship took off when Sherry was interviewed by BBC presenter Jane Hill for being a role model in the LGBT community.

Sherry said: ‘Mandy calmed me down and helped prepare me for the interview. That was two years ago and it went from there. She was the one.’

The ceremony and wedding breakfast was at Rhinefield and among the 150 guests were many Naval and RAF officers, as well as Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, of Play School fame, and Jane Hill.

Their amazing rainbow cake was a joint effort made by Mandy’s mum Sheila Eton and Sherry.

Mandy said: ‘The day was full of a lot of laughter, there was lots of love in the room and it was fun.

‘The cake was wonderful. The cake stand was made by my late stepfather, so it was all very personal.

‘The second tier was made by Sherry, under careful guidance.

‘We had a fantastic day and we’re so grateful that so many people could spend it with us.’

Her favourite part of the day was the welcome she received walking into the ceremony.

‘I wasn’t expecting people to start cheering and clapping and it was quite amazing.’

For Sherry, it was the moment they made their vows.

She said: ‘It was such a personal moment even though we had people all around us.

‘Also, seeing so many people from so many different areas of our lives coming together and everyone getting on.’

Asked what she loves about her partner, Mandy said: ‘I love Sherry’s sense of humour, she’s incredibly kind and she’s completely authentic and fun.’

The couple went on honeymoon to South Africa and Zambia, for 18 days, taking in Victoria Falls, Cape Town and even abseiling down Table Mountain.

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