Golden Wedding Service celebrating 50 or more years of marriage at Ripon Cathedral

June 8, 2022
Posted in News
June 8, 2022 Michelle

Within a week of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee finishing, it’s time to celebrate again at Ripon Cathedral’s annual golden wedding service. It happens at 3.30pm on Sunday, June 12 when a service of thanksgiving and blessing will enable couples married in 1972 or earlier to renew their vows. It is followed by afternoon tea and all the ‘brides’ receive a corsage of flowers.

As with previous services, it gives couples, wherever they were married, an opportunity to share with other people their golden memories of how they met. In the case of one couple who will be attending, it was a bucket of paint that brought them together. Margaret Dickinson, as she then was, had been a volunteer painting the reception area of Harrogate Sports Club. She slipped off a ladder and put her foot in a bucket of paint.

It was not the most romantic start to a relationship but it did bring her to the attention of another volunteer, Ian Black. Did he gallantly rescue her? “No, I don’t think so but he did think there’s a girl with spirit,” recalled Margaret.

Shortly afterwards he invited her to see the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, the Gondoliers, and they started going out together. Married in Harrogate in 1961, and now living in Green Hammerton, they have enjoyed a lifetime of operatic performances and sport (Ian played rugby for Harrogate and Yorkshire) but not quite so much painting.

If the Blacks’ meeting was unusual, so was the courtship of another couple attending the event, John and Linda Groves. Theirs was a whirlwind romance, meeting in January 1972 and getting married in May four months later. John, who had recently arrived in London from Rhodesia, met Linda who was teaching in the city. “We were both independent, single people living in London without family in the area and we were both so sure of each other that there didn’t seem to be a reason to wait to get married,” said John. They are both closely connected with the cathedral and live so near to it that they can walk to the service.

That would be more difficult for John and Ann Miller who will travel from their home in Alwoodley, Leeds, to attend. They were told about the service by friends Tony and Sandra Moss from Huby who are also going. They are both from Leeds are met as teenagers when the church youth clubs they went to were amalgamated.

When they were married in May 1972 at St Stephen’s Church in Kirkstall, Ann was working at Barclays Bank in the income tax department while John was a technical apprentice at Morfitts of Headingley, a commercial heating, ventilation and refrigeration firm. In a sense John was married to his work as well as Ann because he stayed with the firm, and the company that bought it out, Shouksmiths of York, throughout his career, becoming managing director.

Canon Ailsa Newby of the cathedral said: “The Jubilee brought home to everyone the importance of marking anniversaries and significant moments in our lives. Sunday’s service enables people to celebrate the joy and success of many years of marriage. For those whose golden wedding anniversaries took place during lockdowns, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the occasion with others. It is an enormous help to us to know if you would like to come so please do call 01765 603462 to give us your names.”

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