The Broughton-in-Furness wedding celebrated by the whole community

An entire Lancashire community turned out to celebrate a remarkable wedding. Mother-of-the-bride and post mistress Diane Bath describes the big day

Much is said about the fact that community ties no longer exist. This is most definitely not the case in our small town of Broughton-in-Furness.

We run the local post office and newsagent’s shop. Our 23-year-old daughter Carly-Jade has just married her boyfriend of five years, Stephen Holland.

Carly-Jade has lived in Broughton and worked in the post office for six years and Steve has lived and worked nearby all his life and now works as a chef at the Bluebird Caf� in Coniston. They love living here and did not want to even think of buying a house anywhere else.

But, as you can imagine, the houses in Broughton are very expensive as the town is within the Lake District National Park. Prices are at a premium.

They both worked and saved very hard to afford to buy a small terraced cottage in Broughton Square. Having no money left to buy furniture and effects to fill their new home, Carly-Jade decided to put a card in the post office window asking if anyone had any items they no longer needed.

She was inundated with offers of everything from sofas, beds, wardrobes, carpets, white goods, curtains, crockery - in fact, everything they needed. Neighbours also offered help with the decorating, making curtains and DIY. Carly and Steve where overwhelmed.

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When the time came to arrange a wedding they wanted to keep everything local. The ideal wedding venue would be outside their ownfront door in the town square. They decided to have a huge street party and invite the whole town to show their appreciation for the kindness and generosity of their friends and neighbours.

Carly and Steve were married at St Mary’s Church in Broughton.

We all walked to the church, although the local community bus was decorated with ribbons and was used to ferry older members of the community back and forth.

Carly left from the post office around 1.45pm together with her Dad, Alan, and her 20 bridesmaids who are all the little girls from the town she has watched grown up over the last six years and her beloved sheepdog, Archie,who was found dumped in a hedgerow when he was only a few hours old.

The bells were rung by local people including Paul Thompson, our postman. His daughter Pheobe played the harp while our new vicar, Nick Thornley, conducted the service. Our dear friends Russell and Jamie Holden were the official photographers and Cumbrian Wedding Photography also provided their services for free. Our friend, Maggie D’Silva, who is embarking on a new hat making business, supplied all the hats and fascinators for the family and guests.

Friends and neighbours picked flowers from their gardens in order to decorate the church and the local Women’s Institute prepared all the last minute food needed for the buffet. It was laid out on trestle tables within the marquees in the Square. They also served Pimms to all guests. This turned into a huge street party with the whole town turning out to celebrate. We estimated that around 300-400 people attended.

 The generosity of the people in this wonderful town did not end - they asked for the wedding to be a Jacob’s Join. This meant everyone providing a plate of something for everyone to share. Gardeners from Broughton in Bloom ensured that the flower tubs in the Square were immaculate for the special day.

Entertainment was provided by the bridesmaids who were maypole dancing. There was also a bouncy castle, a giant bubble machine, Punch and Judy and a fairground organ.

Tea and coffee was provided by the local cafe and the pub in the Square - The Manor - was open all afternoon. The local butcher, Ian Tyson, provided burgers and sausages for an evening barbecue and a live singer and band entertained guests.

Everyone from our small town joined  the celebrations which made this wedding very special. I feel sure this was a wedding that will live on in the memories of the people of Broughton-in-Furness for many years to come. As you can see, community spirit is indeed still very much alive within Broughton-in-Furness - precisely the reason why people who live here never want to leave.

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A print version of this article appeared in the July 2011 issue of Lancashire Life 

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