Beauty of Blast Beach showcased in stunning wedding pictures of couple who married after 26 years

Stunning photographs of two ‘soulmates’ - who tied the knot more than two decades after they first got together – showcase the outstanding beauty of a beach once spoilt by industrial and chemical waste.

Friday, 27th September 2019, 9:00 am
Stunning scenery of the Blast Beach with newly weds Richard and Gillian Bell. Picture by Peter Robinson, Eye of the Tyne Photography

Growing up in Murton, Richard and Gillian bell could never have imagined having Blast Beach as the backdrop for their wedding photos.

For decades the beach was black with coal dust and resigned to be an industrial wasteland.

But after years of clean up projects the stunning coastline made the perfect dramatic backdrop for the couple’s wedding pictures.

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Richard and Gillian have been together for more than 20 years. Picture by Peter Robinson/Eye of the Tyne Photography

After tying the knot at St Andrew’s Church in Dalton-le-Dale on August 31, the couple headed to the beach with photographer Peter Robinson of Eye of the Tyne Photography before heading to their their reception at Martino's in Seaham.

Capturing the perfect shot certainly wasn’t easy and Gillian, who works at Sunderland Eye Infirmary, said she was cursing Peter as she clambered down the steep embankment in her wedding dress and heels.

Peter, who set up the photography business six years ago, said: “This stretch of the North East coastline used to be an industrial wasteland and was used for the film Alien 3. It's now one of the most beautiful spots in the North East and was just perfect for their wedding photos.

“When we got there the lighting was just phenomenal and I noticed that little pocket of sunlight down on the cliff edge.

Gillian and Richard say they are delighted with their wedding photos. Picture by Peter Robinson/Eye of the Tyne Photography

“I’m so glad they trusted me to get the pictures even if Gillian was cursing me on the way down the steep embankment!

“I think it’s one of my favourite pictures of the year so far.”

The couple met through mutual friends and have been together for 26 years.

Richard’s son, Callum, was his best man and the couple’s daughter Roxanne, who is eight, was also christened at the church after Richard, 45, and Gillian exchanged vows.

Richard and Gillian Bell as they head to their reception in Seaham.

Gillian, 41, said: “We didn’t want your run-of-the-mill close up wedding shots – we wanted something a bit more adventurous.

“We’d been along before the wedding and Peter had asked if we’d be up for getting some pictures on the beach.

“On the day I was cursing him though because we ended up climbing down the embankment for a picture – and I was in heels.

“But the pictures is absolutely stunning – it’s so worth it.

“It’s a beautiful beach now. We knew it had been a chemical beach but we like that about it – it has that edge to it.

“Our wedding day was just perfect. It was just so magical, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Richard is my soulmate and the day was everything we’d hoped for.”