Couples married on same day reunite for golden wedding anniversary

Barnstaple couples Stewart and Mary Chugg, Frank and Sandra Smale, Patrick and Eileen Parsley all celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on the same day. Pic: Tony Freeman. Barnstaple couples Stewart and Mary Chugg, Frank and Sandra Smale, Patrick and Eileen Parsley all celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on the same day. Pic: Tony Freeman.

Thursday, April 3, 2014
12:14 PM

The three Barnstaple couples all wed on March 30, 1964, in the former St Mary’s Church in Bear Street, Barnstaple.

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THREE couples who married on the same day in a former Barnstaple church 50 years ago have reunited to mark the occasion.

Stewart and Mary Chugg, Frank and Sandra Smale and Patrick and Eileen Parsley all said ‘I do’ on March 30, 1964 in St Mary’s Church in Bear Street.

The church has now been demolished but the couples decided to reunite this year on their golden wedding anniversary to mark the occasion.

In the past there was a tax benefit to marrying before the end of the financial year, but depending on when Easter fell there could be a problem.

Floral decorations were banned during lent, so when Easter Monday fell in 1964 the three couples took advantage of the tax concession and had the church decorated.

Frank and Sandra married at 10am, Stewart and Mary married at 11am and Patrick and Eileen married at midday.

All three couples still live in Barnstaple. Stewart, a local builder, Frank, a barber and Patrick, a roofer and former publican, have all now retired.

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