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Big Promise vows break record

14 February 2014

by a staff reporter

richard jarvis

Happy pair: more than 30 couples, including the Bishop of Sherwood and his wife, taking part in the world-record attempt for the number of couples' renewing their vows, at St Mary's, East Leake, in Southwell & Nottingham diocese, on Saturday

Happy pair: more than 30 couples, including the Bishop of Sherwood and his wife, taking part in the world-record attempt for the number of couples' ...

THE world record for the number of couples renewing their wedding vows at the same time has been broken by the Big Promise campaign, organised to mark National Marriage week, which ends today.

More than 1400 couples in 70 venues across the UK joined the challenge on Saturday, beating the previous record of 1089 couples in Ohio, in the United States, in 2009.

The results of the Big Promise campaign are still being scrutinised by judges from Guinness World Records. But the co-ordinator of the campaign, Dave Percival, said that the number of couples taking part sent a strong message to society.

"The vows are the essential part of being married - not the fancy wedding, amazing reception, or exotic honeymoon. Marriage matters to every one of these couples, and should matter to all of us in society as the bedrock of stable family life."

The golden wedding anniversary of Tom and Doreen Shaw, from Sheffield, coincided with the record attempt, and they celebrated their 50 years together by reaffirming their vows. "We were thrilled to remind each other of the promises we made to each other 50 years to the day that we first said them," Mr Shaw said.

"This has been such a special day, as we have celebrated our commitment to each other with our family and friends. It has been quite moving to look back on how we have been blessed and challenged throughout our life together. And after 50 years, it's not over yet."

The Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Tony Porter, renewed his vows with his wife, Lucille, in a church in East Leake, Nottinghamshire.

"This year, Lucille and I will be celebrating 40 years of marriage. We believe that with fidelity, faith, and fun, nothing can compare with a happy marriage."

At Sunderland Minster, a curate, the Revd Fiona Collin, joined 20 other couples to renew her marriage vows. Alongside her were Graeme and Hollie Jobes, from Ashbrooke, in Sunderland.

Mr Jobes said: "We have been married seven years, and we wanted to reaffirm our vows where we regularly come for worship, and because we originally married in New York, at a civil ceremony, which was great - but we felt we wanted to make our vows inchurch.

"I'm a very lucky man, and Hollie has been the core that has kept me going through some tough times. What a great way to celebrate our marriage and all it means to us."

The Big Promise campaign is supported by the Church of England and Christian groups that include Care, the Mothers' Union, and the Evangelical Alliance.

Churches and cathedrals were also holding special events for St Valentine's Day today. Exeter Cathedral and Bath Abbey offered romantic tower tours for two, with champagne at the top. And St Bride's, Fleet Street, in London, urged couples to sponsor a carved angel for St Valentine's Day as part of its £2.5-million campaign to restore the interior of the church.

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