Copdock: EastEnder Shane Richie brings sparkle to couple’s big day

SUFFOLK: There are not many people who can claim to have a top TV star turn up at their wedding.

But a very special guest helped celebrate Leigh Parry and Hayley Dye’s big day.

Eastenders favourite Shane Richie turned up to their reception at the Hotel Elizabeth, at Copdock.

Hayley’s father Barry discovered an 18-year-old Richie when he was working as a blue coat for Pontins in Spain and managed his early career in television and on stage.

The family have been in close contact ever since and Richie, who plays Alfie Moon in the BBC One soap, repeatedly pledged to make the trip to Suffolk when Hayley tied the knot.

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The popular actor and entertainer even had time to take the microphone for a slow number before congratulating the happy couple and meeting guests.

Richie was more than happy to take a break from filming and add some celebrity sparkle to the ceremony.

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The 46-year-old was spotted by Barry Dye as a fresh-faced 18-year-old cracking jokes and singing at a Spanish resort.

Agent and event promoter Mr Dye remembers: “He was a blue coat when I saw him with my wife and Hayley, who was just four years old, at Pontinental, in Spain.

“He knew I was coming and asked if I would manage him. His personality and charisma won me over.

“He wanted to do cabaret, West End shows and TV. I could see he had real potential.”

Mr Dye managed Richie for the next ten years and has stayed in contact ever since, attending his wedding in 2007 and helping to celebrate his 40th birthday.

Hayley has also remained friends with the soap star and was delighted to see him again on her special day.

The 32-year-old pursued her own career in entertainment, appearing in adverts, on television and in theatre.

Now a pilates instructor in London, fitness fanatic Hayley met personal trainer Leigh seven years ago. He had moved to the UK from South Africa to play rugby but an injury cut short his playing career.

The pair shared a romantic dance as their famous wedding guest sang classic soul ballad Stand by Me and even handed the microphone over for them to each sing a line.Mr Dye said: “It was really great to see Shane, and for him to take the time to come along. He always said he’d be there when Hayley got married and he was true to his word.”

n Have you welcomed a celebrity friend to the region? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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