Couples renew their wedding vows in world record attempt at Sunderland Minster

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THREE generations of the same Sunderland family took the opportunity to renew their marriage vows during a world record attempt at Sunderland Minster.

Joan and Raymond Kirton, their daughter Gillian Walker and her husband Fred, and their daughter Gemma Rodgerson and husband Darren took their vows again alongside 12 other couples.

It was part of a nationwide attempt to break the previous world record of 1,087 couples reaffirming their wedding vows simultaneously.

The attempt, organised by the BIG Promise, comes at the start of Marriage Week UK which runs until Valentine’s Day on Friday, with the grand total still being totted up.

Mr and Mrs Kirton, who are 86 and 87 respectively and live in East Herrington, will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary this year.

The couple have six children, 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“I’ve always said I would choose him again,” Mrs Kirton said.

Their daughter, Mrs Walker, 62, married husband Fred, 69, 42 years ago. The couple have two children and three grandchildren and said they were mainly taking part because her mother was.

Mr and Mrs Rodgerson, who are 31 and 40, were joined by their three daughters Georgina, five, Francesca, three, and one-year-old Darcey.

The pair were married in Sunderland Minster seven years ago. “I’ve been coming here since I was two so it means a lot to me,” Mrs Rodgerson said. “The fact that my parents, my grandparents and us are here together, makes it so special.”

The event at the minster was organised by Reverend Fiona Collin, and the service was conducted by Minster priest, the Reverend Andrew Dowsett.

Rev Collin said that when she heard of the record attempt, she thought it would be a good way to celebrate the positive things about marriage. The newly-ordained curate, who is 51, jumped at the chance to reaffirm her vows to husband Neil, 57 after almost 32 years of marriage.

“It seemed a good opportunity,” she said. “It marks the beginning of a new time in our marriage.”

 Following the service, the couples and their guests sat down to an afternoon tea and enjoyed a Mr and Mrs-style quiz.




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