Golden couples renew their vows at joyous Ripon Cathedral service

Eleanor and Barry Kay at the service. Picture: Joseph Priestley.
Eleanor and Barry Kay at the service. Picture: Joseph Priestley.

A former Mayor and Mayoress of Ripon were among the 82 couples renewing their wedding vows at a Ripon Cathedral service on Sunday to celebrate 50 years of marriage or more.

Marking 51 years of marriage, the service was a time for Barry and Eleanor Kay to fondly reflect on their lives together.

Remembering their wedding day in 1966, Mrs Kay said: “Wimbledon was on and one guest was hiding behind a gravestone listening to it on his transistor radio. It was very hot, a roasting day.”

Mr Kay said: “I think she was thinking what had she let herself in for.

“We feel very privileged to have been here today and to have been invited to read a lesson.

“It’s wonderful to see all these couples celebrating together, and to see so many happy people together in one place.”

Lynne and John Slater from Asenby tied the knot at Ripon Cathedral in 1967, and celebrated their golden wedding the day before the special service, which took them back to where their journey together started.

Mrs Slater said: “A week before the service, Canon Emmerson, who went on to become Bishop Emmerson, stepped in to marry us.

“I still have his silk handkerchief. He gave it to me because I was so overcome by the emotion of the day.”

The Queen sent her congratulations to all of the couples, and was represented by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Squadron Leader David Dinmore.

Over 400 people attended on Sunday, and the first service of its kind was held 20 years ago.

In his sermon, the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, said: “There is much to be thankful for. There is much to celebrate - and your success, your steadfastness over five decades and more can be a source of encouragement and inspiration to younger generations.”