Couples mark key milestone at golden service

The Dean of Ripon Rev John Dobson.
The Dean of Ripon Rev John Dobson.

There will be a golden day to remember at Ripon Cathedral next month.

Anyone who was married in 1968, or even earlier, is invited to attend a special ticket-only golden wedding service.

Sybil and Anthony Pillar were married in June 1963.

Sybil and Anthony Pillar were married in June 1963.

Couples are being welcomed to the special service to renew their vows on Sunday June 10 at 3.30pm.

Each ‘bride’ is presented with a delicate gold corsage and there is a celebratory cake and refreshments afterwards.

Last year’s golden wedding service attracted 82 couples.

This year’s event will be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd CBE, representing the Queen.

Judith and Rob Hillery from Ripon who were married in the cathedral in April 1968.

Judith and Rob Hillery from Ripon who were married in the cathedral in April 1968.

The service will be taken by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson.

Organiser Linda Bennett said: “It’s one of the happiest services of the year, which is a joy to the celebrating couples, their families and friends, all in a most wonderful setting.”

Among those attending will be Judith and Rob Hillery from Ripon who were married in the cathedral in April 1968.

Judith was given away by the former MP for Harrogate, the Rt Hon James Ramsden.

She had been the nanny to his five children and two of his daughters were bridesmaids.

Judith had strong links to the cathedral as she was undermatron at the former choir school.

Rob, a former police officer, recalled: “I come from a large Ripon family so it was quite a big wedding.

“Judith’s sister came over from America, one of the bridesmaids came from Scotland, and members of my family also came from the Midlands.”

Also at the service will be Sybil and Anthony Pillar from Knaresborough who were married in June 1963 in Oxford, where Anthony had been at university.

The vicar who married them, the Rev James Coke, is still in post today and takes an active role in many services.

Sybil said: “We had our reception at the Oxford Union, which is a magnificent building, but we were terribly worried that someone would light a cigarette and start a fire and destroy some of its priceless books.

“It was dreadfully wet and one of the guests said to me that I shouldn’t worry because if it rains on your wedding day, you’ll never be short of money.

“I’m not sure that saying is necessarily true.”

Regardless of where they got married or when, as long as it was in 1968 or before, couples are invited to attend and bring their families and friends.

Tickets are free but they must be obtained in advance from Linda Bennett at the Chapter House, Ripon Cathedral, Ripon HG4 1QT.