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Looking back: Ceremonial display of affection at St Peter's Church in Brighton
7:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
The altar of St Peter’s has been a spot where hundreds of couples have exchanged their wedding vows.
Its stained glass windows and high vaulted ceilings have been the backdrop for the happiest moments of peoples’ lives.
With space for more than 2,000 people, it was unsurprisingly a popular place to say “I do”.
However, in February 2007, the Church of England announced the landmark building had become redundant and with a regular congregation of just 90 people, plus soaring bills, it was decided the building should be closed.
This is why many were eager to take the opportunity to take part in a special church service in April the same year.
Hundreds of couples who had exchanged their vows in St Peter’s returned to renew their promises in a joint renewal service.
The idea was thought up by Mayor David Smith and among those returning to the altar were blissfully wed couple, Pat and Stan Kibble.
The pair wed in St Peter’s in August 1956.
Mrs Kibble said the renewal service had been an enjoyable experience for everyone who attended and a chance to remember their own happy days.
The mayor had asked Alan and Helen Long to help bring couples together for the ceremony and after posting an advert in The Argus, they were inundated with calls from people happy to take part.
Among other members of the congregation were three generations of families who were all married in St Peter’s Church.
There was a display of wedding pictures of the 1,000 couples married at the church over the previous 50 years and a small reception was held after the ceremony in the church hall.
Guy and Caroline Frazer, of Queen Victoria Avenue, Hove, members of the congregation for many years, were married in 1992 and had three children.
Mr Frazer said: “It was nice to see the church full with people celebrating the same thing.”
Mr Frazer said he would like to see more couples married at the church in future, adding: “We would like to see that but it’s more important there is a vision in the town which looks after everybody rather than just a building.”
ON THIS DAY
1887: Fire at Theatre Royal in Exeter, England killed 186 1960 Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) is awarded the gold medal in the light heavyweight boxing competition at the Olympic Games in Rome.
1984: Western Australia becomes the last Australian state to abolish capital punishment.
1982: Douglas Bader, famed pilot with false legs and leader of ‘the few’ – the several hundred RAF pilots who defeated the German Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain – died.
1996: Hurricane Fran makes landfall near Cape Fear, North Carolina as a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds. Fran caused over $3 billion in damage and killed 27 people, mainly in North Carolina.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
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