Petworth couples relive their nuptials

C111349-1 Mid Pet Love  Photo Louise Adams''Jean and Don Simmonds takes a look at the exhibition which shows her wedding dress.
C111349-1 Mid Pet Love Photo Louise Adams''Jean and Don Simmonds takes a look at the exhibition which shows her wedding dress.

Don and Jean Simpson met when they both worked in the post office at Petworth almost six decades ago.

They were married in St Mary’s Church and now their story forms part of a poignant exhibition featuring weddings there over the last 100 years.

The ‘Love is all around’ community project started back in April when, in collaboration with St Mary’s Church, the National Trust at Petworth House issued an appeal for couples living in the town to come forward and relive their stories of falling in love and getting married in the church.

“The response was really positive,” said Sue Rhodes, who helped organise the exhibition.

“In total there are 12 couples featured in the St Mary’s exhibition, ranging from 1952 to 2009.

“There are also 11 beautiful dresses are on display and panels which describe each couple’s story.”

Among them are the wedding dresses and original wedding photos of the Simpsons and another well-known Petworth couple, Tony and Jean Whitcomb.

Don and Jean were married on September 27, 1952.

Although they were both brought up in Petworth it was only when Jean stood in for Don at the post office during his war service that they finally met.

Three years later they were married in St Mary’s Church.

Tony and Jean Whitcomb, both born and brought up in Petworth, were married in St Mary’s on May 26, 1956.

They met when he was a Scout leader and she a Guider in the town.

On their wedding day Scouts and Guides formed a guard of honour as they left the church.

The full exhibition is being held across three areas - the exhibition room and chapel at Petworth House, as well as historic St Mary’s Church just a stone’s throw away.

In the chapel at Petworth House visitors can admire a display celebrating the wedding of Jessica, Lord and Lady Egremont’s daughter, which took place there four years ago.

The display includes her wedding dress, photos taken on the day and the seating plan for the top table.

In the exhibition room there is a photographic display of wedding day images taken over the past 100 years, showing the changes in styles and fashions.

The exhibition runs until Wednesday (August 31).