Unlucky, but happy – couple’s wedding day saved after lightning bolt hit their church

Dean Cummings and  fiance Katie Freeman, of Pacific Hall Close, Seatmn, Seaham, were due to be mared by lightning struck the church and the hotel where the reception was to be held, closed.
Dean Cummings and fiance Katie Freeman, of Pacific Hall Close, Seatmn, Seaham, were due to be mared by lightning struck the church and the hotel where the reception was to be held, closed.
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THEY say lightning never strikes twice – but once was enough to 
almost ruin a Seaham couple’s wedding day.

Katie Freeman and Dean Cummings couldn’t believe their luck when the church they were due to marry in was hit by lightning, leaving it unsafe for their ceremony.

Dean Cummings and  fiance Katie Freeman, of Pacific Hall Close, Seatmn, Seaham, were due to be mared by lightning struck the church and the hotel where the reception was to be held, closed.

Dean Cummings and fiance Katie Freeman, of Pacific Hall Close, Seatmn, Seaham, were due to be mared by lightning struck the church and the hotel where the reception was to be held, closed.

To add to their woes, the hotel due to host their reception went into administration.

It looked doubtful the happy couple would ever make it to the church on time.

However, the 31-year-olds, who live in Seaton, Seaham, have now breathed a sigh of relief after they rallied round to ensure they will still exchange vows on their chosen day a year in the planning.

Katie, a solicitor who works in Gosforth, and Dean, an accounts executive for law firm Bond Dickinson, turned to As You Like It in Jesmond, Newcastle, to host the meal and party in place of Whitworth Hall, near Spennymoor.

Father Anthony Hastie pledged he would still take the couple’s wedding mass but at St Mary Magdalen’s in Harbour Walk, but swift repairs to St Cuthbert’s mean the pair will walk down the aisle in Katie’s home parish.

Katie, who met Dean when they worked at Bond Dickinson, formerly Dickinson Dees, said: “About five weeks ago we were due to go to Whitworth Hall for our wedding taster and have the final meeting, and then we received a telephone call from the administrator saying it would continue to trade for four weeks and if no buyer was found, it would close. We wouldn’t have known for four weeks, so we decided to cut our losses.

“We quickly found we could have it at As You Like It, which had a vacancy, as Dean rang around everybody.

“We thought everything was then going to go to plan, when we got a phone call from the priest saying the church had been hit by lightning and was unsafe and needed to be rewired.”

The couple will marry on Saturday, December 7.

Katie added: “We couldn’t believe it the first time, but then the lightning hit the church.

“We just had to laugh really. It was so close to the wedding.

“These obstacles, you really couldn’t make them up.

“They never seem to happen to anyone else.”

Reverend Chris Jackson, based at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Penshaw, is a spokesman for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

He said: “Last Wednesday, the church and the presbytery, which is next door to the church, was hit by lightning and, as a result, they need rewiring, and electrical goods in the church and house are damaged and beyond repair.

“Now there’s a temporary job going on and, post-Christmas, a proper rewiring job will be done.

“I’m glad for them they can go ahead with their plans.”