No more pretending as Robin Hood finally weds Maid Marian
Published 08/09/2016 | 09:31
It is a love story that goes back centuries - and finally Robin Hood and Maid Marian are set to tie the knot.
Tim Pollard has been playing the famous outlaw for more than two decades, with duties including greeting the Queen, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visit to Nottingham in 2012.
He started out by donning the Lincoln Green outfit for medieval banquets and has moved on to working other events including parades and civic functions in Nottingham.
When he was in need of a Maid Marian more than 10 years ago, he asked Sally Chappell, who was also into re-enactments.
Mr Pollard said: "It's the best chat-up line in the world really - 'Will you be my Maid Marian?'
"Except it wasn't a chat-up line. We worked together as Robin and Maid Marian for years just as friends and neither of us thought about going out with each other.
"And then five years ago, we just kind of went 'You know this pretending to be in love thing that we're doing? I quite like you' and we got together."
The 52-year-old recalled meeting his bride-to-be in his early days as Robin Hood at a banquet at the Sheriff's Lodge in Nottingham.
He said: "I think one of the first times I met her, I threw axes at her as part of the show. Now, I can't say that will work as dating advice for everyone, but it did for me."
He works as Nottingham's official Robin Hood while 39-year-old Ms Chappell is a lecturer and researcher in human molecular genetics at the University of Nottingham.
"It's been fantastic playing Robin Hood and Maid Marian, a real privilege. I have a dressing up box and Sal has a career," Mr Pollard said.
The couple, who have a two-year-old daughter, Scarlett, will be getting married later this month in Buxton, Derbyshire, with guests including the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
The couple have not asked for wedding gifts but would prefer donations towards the cost of a relaxing space for Ms Chappell, who has incurable breast cancer.
They are looking at converting the garage at their home in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, into a playroom for Scarlett and a place where Maid Marian can relax.
She was given the devastating news in July 2015 but has continued to work both at the university and as Maid Marian since her diagnosis.
Mr Pollard, whose favourite silver-screen Robin Hood is Michael Praed, said: "We both had a bit of a weep and now we are just carrying on anyway. We were planning on getting married, so that's what we're doing.
"You can't pull the wool over her eyes about the seriousness of her condition because of her work but she has just been amazing with it."
He added that the support from the community has been strong - with a GoFundMe page set up for donations reaching £2,350.
He said: "I have no pretensions. I know that if there is a letter of the alphabet three or four below Z, that's the list I'm on.
"I'm a middle-aged man with a dressing-up box, but it astounds me that people are so interested, caring and thoughtful."
Ms Chappell said: "We've been a couple for several years now and even have a beautiful two-and-a-half-year-old baby daughter, Scarlett, so maybe it's time for me to make an honest man of Robin.
"I do get very tired indeed after treatment but the care I'm getting from all the staff at the City Hospital is excellent and they're as determined as we are that everything runs as smoothly as possible on the day."
Even Robin Hood's arch-enemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham, has wished the couple well on their big day.
Jackie Morris, who has the ceremonial role of the Sheriff, said: "I'm delighted that the legendary love story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, better known locally as Tim and Sally, is going to be celebrated on their wedding day.
"Tim dubbed me the 'nice' Sheriff, but even so I will leave him in peace on his wedding day - I'm sure family, friends, their daughter Scarlett and the Merry Men will help them celebrate in style.
"Myself and the whole of Nottingham will be celebrating with them in spirit and we wish them all the best for a happy wedding day."