Bride gets Butlins-style Puffing Billy train to church to renew her wedding vows

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.
Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.
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A bride got to the church in time in style as a popular road train took her to renew her vows.

Tracey Cross, from South Hetton, marked 25 years of being married to husband Gary with a service at South Hetton Methodist Chapel, in Richmond Street, on Saturday.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

She was taken there by Puffing Billy, the steam engine based on a train which operated at holiday camp Butlins about 30 years ago.

It is the first time the train – which is based at North East Mobility Warehouse, in Front Street, South Hetton – has been used for such an event.

It is usually seen in the South Hetton area at Christmas time, with children from the area flocking to see it.

However, when she decided to renew her vows, Mrs Cross, 48, felt Puffing Billy would be the ideal transport to get her to church.

Puffing Billy looked fabulous, because they had done it up with ribbons and bells

Tracey Cross

She said: “I was really excited about it, and I think the whole village was too.

“A lot of people didn’t know about the train, because we kept it a 
secret.

“It picked me up at my house in Buttermere Crescent, which is only normally about three minutes away from the chapel, but he took me down Easington Lane, and back up and down the street before getting there so we had a bit of a longer ride.

“Puffing Billy looked fabulous, because they had done it up with ribbons and bells.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

“It went down really well, and topped off a fantastic day.”

Among those at the ceremony were the couple’s children, Jack and Jason, who are aged 11 and nine respectively.

Puffing Billy was made in 2012 by North East Mobility owner Ian Morrell, who fell in love with the original on family holidays to Butlins.

He searched for a replica after deciding he wanted to own the train, but after failing to find one, he built one of his own.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Swin Tempest, who works at North East Mobility Centre, said: “It’s the first time it has been used for that sort of event.

“It’s usually just used at Christmas time, when it runs around the local area and lots of children come out for it.

“It’s a bit like the Coca-Cola train when it is dressed up at Christmas, and we dressed it up again for the wedding to ensure it was looking its best.

“It was great to get a request to use it for the wedding, and it took the bride to the church and back.”

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.

Gary and Tracey Cross, who have been married 25 years, renewd their wedding vows at South Hetton Methodist Church, on Saturday, arrived at the church inthe train Puffin Billy.