A MAN was left in hospital after the historic first wedding on Southend Pier descended into a brawl.

Police and paramedics were called after a violence broke out in the toilet of the Cultural Centre, where the reception was being held on Saturday night.

It left one guest, 23, with a facial injury.

The Echo told on Monday how paratrooper Ian Barnes, 22, married care assistant Emma Hunter, 24, at the end of the pier, where they spent their first date.

The couple, from Southend, spoke of their “brilliant” day to our reporter in the afternoon, but emergency services were called that evening after the punch-up just before 11pm.

A 39-year-old passerby from Southend, who asked not to be named, said: “I heard two squaddies got in a fight and one of them had to be ferried to hospital.”

Scott Dolling, acting head of enterprise, tourism and regeneration for Southend Council, said: “Late on Saturday night, an ambulance was called to attend to an injured wedding guest.

“Although they insisted that an ambulance would not be necessary, we still called it as a precautionary measure.”

Guests who wanted to smoke had to hop on a pier train for the 1.3mile trip to shore every time they needed to light up.

The pier was closed for three weeks in 1995 following a fire in the bowling alley on the pier. This was followed by a blaze in 2005 which destroyed much of the pier head, including the railways station, cafes and shops.

A Southend council spokesperson said: “Anyone who books the Pier Cultural Centre is advised of the Pier's no smoking policy.”