NOT even war could hold this couple back from marriage, as they proved at York register office.

Elaine Reed, 32, of Stillingfleet, and Paul Watson, 29, from Harrogate, were devastated when their wedding plans faced ruin by the news that Paul, a senior aircraftsman in the RAF, was destined for the Gulf.

Two days later war broke out, but with the wedding date set for last Saturday, the couple asked permission for Paul to remain in the UK for the ceremony.

Elaine said: "We thought of bringing the date forward, because technically he could have been in the Middle East for a year or more.

"He was due to go to Basra, then suddenly the application went through. We feel so lucky."

The pair met 12 years ago, working as supply staff for the RAF in Oxford.

Paul is now based at RAF Leeming, where he services advanced jets such as Tornadoes. He will remain in his regular job until mid-September, when his situation will be reassessed.

After the ceremony on Saturday there was a small reception for friends and family at the Blacksmith's Arms, in Naburn.

Then the happy couple were looking forward to a lazy weekend together.

"It's definitely a case of 'happily ever after'," said Elaine.

Updated: 11:13 Monday, April 07, 2003