September 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, January 7, 2013
Its iconic dome is a symbol of London and the venue for visiting VIPs, state funerals and a royal wedding.
But at the weekend St Paul’s Cathedral hosted the marriage of a Cromer couple.
Local councillor Hilary Thompson said “I will” to former fisherman, lifeboatman and town fire chief William Cox in the landmark’s history-steeped OBE chapel.
More than 200 people travelled to the capital for the special occasion - made possible by Mr Cox’s MBE honour which entitles him to get married in the cathedral.
Many of them travelled back en masse on the 2.30pm train to Norwich where they were met by special buses shuttling them to the reception in Cromer, to avoid causing problems on the Bittern Line trains.
Hilary, wearing a midnight blue Edwardian style costume was led down the aisle and given away by son Adam Hutchinson, having been driven to St Paul’s from their hotel across the river by daughter Petula in her Jaguar.
William, wearing his MBE and other fire service medals on his suit, had son David by his side as best man.
The couple have been together for 20 years and have known each other since childhood days in Mundesley, where her parents ran the former Sea View Hotel, and his father was a fisherman.
She is well known in town as a county, district and town councillor, Methodist preacher, Royal British Legion standard bearer and charity fund raiser who has trekked to Everest base camp, kayaked along the coast and cycled to Cromer’s twin town in Germany.
He combined his job as crab fisherman with 40 years’ service as a retained firefighter in Cromer, including 17 years as station officer, and 20 years on the lifeboat crew, which saw him made an MBE in 2002 for services to the community.
Hilary proposed to him on Leap Year’s Day and they decided to use their St Paul’s privilege to make their wedding day special.
They and their guests walked past the tombs of Lord Nelson and Duke of Wellington before the ceremony in the crypt chapel where other memorials to household names included artists John Constable and Alfred Munnings, scientist Sir Alexander Fleming and poet Walter de la Mare.
Cathedral dean the Very Rev David Ison welcomed the “Cromer posse” to the venue. Readings were given by Cromer lifeboat coxswain John Davies and former Sheringham coxswain Clive Rayment. The sermon was taken by Cromer Methodist minister the Rev Sharon Willimott.
Four hymns and other music were played by an organist and trumpeter as the couple exchanged vows then headed outside for photographs, including some by intrigued tourists, before the new Mr and Mrs Cox and the guests headed back to Cromer for an evening reception at the Cliftonville Hotel.
Outside the cathedral Hilary said: “We were excited and overwhelmed. Being surrounded by such history made it an amazing experience for everybody. It has been marvellous.”
William added: “We are so grateful so many people travelled to be here with us. We thoroughly enjoyed it.”