A FOOTBALL chanting congregation, lip-syncing preparatory school, and a television screening of the big match at a wedding all played their part as south Essex celebrated England’s World Cup success.

Football fans came out across the county to wish the national side good luck ahead of the big game, and celebrated in style as they brought home a 2-0 win against Sweden to take them through to the semi finals of the 2018 World Cup.

Newlyweds Keighley and Tommy Hare, 30 and 32, from Wickford celebrated their wedding at the Lodge Country Inn in Battlesbridge alongside the big game.

Discussions on how the guests - and the groom - would watch the match had divided the happy couple in the lead up to the wedding, however Keighley eventually relented and allowed a television screen to be put up at their reception.

She said: “I wasn’t happy at first, but now I’m really pleased I did. It made the day even more special, and its something we’ll always remember.

“I don’t think it would have gone so well if England had lost, but having such a fantastic result meant that everyone was in a brilliant mood, with lots of people singing and chanting - it was a perfect day.”

A church congregation even got involved in the festivities, as St Nicholas’ Church in Canvey swapped a traditional hymn for a rendition of 1996 hit Three Lions.

The Rev Marion Walford said: “England is very proud of its football team and there’s an excellent chance football will be coming home. The players are obviously enjoying every moment and the team is conducting itself in a way we cannot but be proud of. “Keep playing boys and we’ll keep praying.”

Canon David Tudor, rector of Canvey said: “If religion is to be real, then it must arise from the perceptions and feelings of the people in the church.

“There is a time for rejoicing and celebrating whether that is at Christmas or when a football team is doing well.”

Ahead of the weekend’s excitement, pupils at St Pierre School in Leigh filmed a lip-sync video to the same song, shot at different locations around the school.

School proprietor Kurt Davies, who organised the video said: “We’re having a rare moment of real national pride at the moment, and its something that many of our children won’t ever have seen before so I thought it would be fun to bring that spirit to the school.

“I think its so important that we teach our kids to be patriotic and proud of their country, so we just couldn’t miss an opportunity like this to really celebrate what it means.”

However, despite calls for a public showing of Wednesday’s semi-final, both Southend and Basildon Council have confirmed the prospect is unlikely. Basildon Council said it had no plans, while Southend Council claimed there were difficulties in planning.