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A translated wedding

07 February 2014


WHEN a millionaire industrialist and his fiancée, a TV presenter from China (left), asked to have their wedding in the parish church of a former pit village, the Revd Neville Griffiths took it all in his stride.

The guests included a former Prime Minister of Mongolia, the head of China's Youth League, and the third most senior general in the Chinese army; but Mr Griffiths, the Associate Priest at St Stephen's, in Willington, Co. Durham, described it as "just another day at the office".

The request came from Stuart Bromley, the Beijing-based owner of 27 mines, which employ 28,300 people, and his bride, Becky Zhao, a broadcaster on CCTV, China's national network.

Mr Griffiths, a former chaplain at Durham University, who has been assisting at St Stephen's for six years, explained: "Mr Bromley's parents were married at St Stephen's. So were his paternal grandparents, and they are buried in the cemetery. He has never lived in Willington, but he comes every year to visit his grandparents' grave.

"It was all very straightforward. They brought all the necessary paperwork from China. We went to see the diocesan registrar . . . and the Chancellor said 'Yes.'. . .

"It was a straightforward Church of England wedding; the only thing different was having a translator. Many of the congregation had no English. There is no point trundling through a service if no one knows what's going on."

After the service, Mr Bromley said: "[My roots] are very much here in Willington."

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