Colin Easterbrook and Hazel Sackett's wedding

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20 June 1959 - Ashwell Methodist Church

By Hazel Easterbrook (Sackett)

The Wedding of Hazel Sackett to Colin Easterbrook 20th June 1959

at Ashwell Methodist Church

From left to right:

Bridesmaid Christine Easterbrook Grooms Niece, Bertram Easterbrook Grooms Father, Kate Easterbrook Grooms Mother,Best Man Peter Easterbrook Grooms Brother, Colin Easterbrook, Hazel Sackett, Stanley Sackett Brides Father, Muriel Sackett Brides Mother and Bridesmaid Ann Sackett Brides Cousin,


Our Engagement 19th March 1958

The Rings – Mine had 3 diamonds with platinum shoulders and gold band and Colin’s was a gold signet ring, inscribed in Gothic script CWE.  These were purchased in February from Punchards the Jewellers in Whiteladies Road and mine was a second hand ring, as suggested by Jill Gillard as one got more for your money.  I was very proud and pleased with my ring and loathe to take it off when we came out of the shop.  However when we returned home to 24, St Bernard’s Road Aunty May suggested I try it on to show them.  She then said “You might as well keep it on it looks so nice!”, so needing no further convincing I did!  On the way home to Ashwell, on the bus, I sat next to a lady from the village and rather pointedly took my gloves off so she had to comment; “Didn’t know you were engaged, who is the lucky man?” 

We officially got engaged on Colin’s 21st Birthday when we had a party in the Clinic Hall, next door.  My parents and two younger brothers had travelled to Bristol in the new Standard Companion car and we met them at “The Dog” at Old Sodbury, to guide them through Bristol to Shirehampton. The weekend went well and the party went with a swing with all Colin’s Aunts and Uncles swelling the numbers of our two families.  I think we had a ham and tongue salad meal with trifle to follow and also “fancies”.  I had not heard this name before for small iced (fancy) cakes which were all different and very chocolaty, creamy and delicious.  There was also a large iced fruit cake for Colin’s birthday, made by a friend of Jill’s.  We were very lucky with lots of presents for our Engagement and Colin had a toolset from his parents, a navy blue suit case from my parents and I gave him a monogrammed cigarette case.

Weddings were in the air and we attended Maggie Dilley and Tony Sturgeon’s at Ashwell ParishChurch and Ann Turner and an American G.I’s at Baldock.  Ann Parsons, (my North Harrow friend) also married a G.I., Bill Ferguson from RAF Chicksands.  Although we did not attend the wedding they invited us for Sunday lunch at their flat in Harrow, shortly before their return to the U.S.A.   They had a nice well furnished flat and seemed very happy there, we felt Ann was brave leaving her family and country and going to live so far away.

Soon after Christmas in 1959 we started thinking about where we should live after our wedding in June.  We hoped to have our own flat in Bristol as opposed to living with parents as many couples did.  We started looking in the Evening Post for advertisements and were helped by Dad E. suggesting that he would go to the newsagent at lunchtime when the early edition came out.  He was then able to look in the “Accommodation to Rent” section and ring up to make an appointment to view.  After a short time Dad spotted something suitable and arranged to visit that evening with Colin.  Their visit was successful and Mrs White (Chalky) agreed that we should have the flat subject to my approval at the weekend when I would visit Bristol.  She took to Dad E. being a naval man and considered a son of his would be reliable and a good tenant.

Back at Ashwell wedding preparations were moving on with the time fixed at 2.30pm and date booked with Rev Riach at Ashwell Methodist Chapel.  Colin and I went to visit him at the manse in Shefford but I don’t remember anything about the visit.  We chose Ann Sackett as the chief bridesmaid, niece Christine Easterbrook as the flower girl and Peter Easterbrook as Best Man.                                                  

Mum and I went up to Oxford Street, London to buy my wedding dress and after a wander around two or three department stores (Marshall & Snellgrove for one) the dress was bought from Della Gowns of 159, Oxford Street.  It was a ballerina length, white nylon net with silver horseshoes sprinkled about, a full skirt caught up on one side with bunch of lilies of the valley, long sleeves with pointed cuffs and high neck.  We also bought a short veil and a pillbox shaped head dress.  Ann’s aquamarine dress was bought on another occasion and Christine’s lavender dress with muff came from Clarkes Bridal shop of Union Street in Bristol.                                  

The wedding reception was to be held at “The Bushel & Strike” pub in Mill Street, Ashwell in their function room named St Georges Hall.  It was to be a buffet meal and the bills were recently discovered after nearly 50 years.  The bill came to the princely sum of £46.18.3., which was for 70 people at 7/6d each, including the cake at £5.5.0. and various drinks. I seem to remember my Dad having a slight disagreement with May Day, the landlady of the pub who had charged him for all the bottles which were started and forgot to pass on the part bottles afterwards.  The wedding car from Bert Collis cost a £1, invitations £3.6.6. and there were the expenses of a few home improvements , i.e. a new toilet seat and toilet roll holder, carpet and curtains and 4 chairs to be covered, all coming to £9.6.9.  My parents divided the expenses between them and also our wedding present of £50., we were quite overcome to receive such an amount.  I think it was quite a financial strain on them and the business and there were various sums, all on the back of used envelopes sorting out the money.  However it was a lovely day and everything went beautifully, a day to never be forgotten.

Deciding who to invite to the wedding was quite a problem and I can remember sending invitations to all of Colin’s aunts and uncles, our relations in South Africa, elderly relatives in Lincolnshire with the fairly sure knowledge that they would not attend but would send a present! 

June 20th 1959 – The Wedding Day - A beautiful warm sunny day which seemed to go on and on.  Colin spent the morning picking gooseberries in Mrs Haskin’s back garden as he had stayed there for the night.  It was the tradition to not see your bride on the Wedding day until you met at the altar.  Colin was offered lunch by Mrs Haskins but declined as it was roast lamb spiked with garlic, not quite the thing to have eaten on your special day. It was also Derek’s 13th birthday.  I asked him, 50 years on, what were his memories.  He said he had practically none other than Bertie Collis arriving with his green Vauxhall Wyvern car and knocking at the front door, which was hardly ever used.  Also Yvonne Revels arriving with my wedding present right on the last minute; a concertina clothes airer: which is still in use in 2009.  Brother Peter’s memories of the day were equally brief.  He had been asked to be an usher and not knowing what his duties were asked Peter Easterbrook for advice.  Peter Easterbrook was equally hazy on the subject as the only wedding he had attended was his own and did not know if they even had ushers then.  Peter also recalled being asked to make tea for the various relatives on the evening of the wedding as Mum was so exhausted.  He had to keep popping out of the kitchen asking questions as he had never made a cup of tea on his own in his life – amazing at 22 years of age!  Aunty May and Christine spent the night with neighbours, who lived opposite our shop.  Ann, Robin and Uncle Lesley came from Iver Heath on the Saturday morning.  I can remember arranging flowers in the chapel with the help of Aunty May.                                              

Dad had been given a huge aluminium bath full of Sweet Williams by one of his farmer’s wife, grocery customers.  He delivered groceries to her each week and always brought back a tray of fresh farm eggs, brown and huge in size with always several “double jokers”, as we called them.  When we came to lock up the chapel door with a huge key I couldn’t get it to turn and we returned home for assistance – Colin’s Dad soon managed to give it an extra tweak and the key clicked around. 

We seemed to have a house full of people including Mr & Mrs Redwood, Marion and Esme, Ruth, Tom, Aunty Hett, Will and Betty Chatterton, who had driven down in Mr Crook’s car. Lunch was ham and cheese rolls with cups of tea but I definitely was not hungry.  Around 1pm the bridal party went upstairs to change and I recall everyone else getting dressed first as Bertie Collis was at the door waiting to transport Mum and my brothers followed by the bridesmaids to the chapel.                                       

I was all of a sudden alone in my bedroom and glancing down out of the window saw two multi coloured flowers passing by in front of the house.  It was Julie Bremner in a wacky flower hat and carrying in her hand a rainbow hued fluffy cobweb remover, our wedding present.  Suddenly I realised time was running out and I was struggling into my dress and hooped petticoat unaided and trying to ensure my headdress and veil was firmly attached to my head with numerous Kirby grips.  Dad was downstairs quite oblivious of the panic above his head!  He was locking up the house and ensuring windows were shut as the dining room had all our wedding presents on display, as was the custom.

We made the very short journey of 50 yards in the wedding car with me clinging onto Dad’s hand who remarked to me for the first time in his life “You look lovely”!  The next minute Dad was escorting me down the aisle when I suddenly began to shake.  The enormity of the day kicked in and I had great difficulty in holding my bouquet still.  The service passed by in rather a blur though I know we sang “Love Divine, all Loves Excelling” but that is the only detail I recall.  After photos outside the church (black & white) we were driven the short distance down Mill Street to the wedding reception at The Bushel & Strike.  The time passed very happily chatting to everyone and circulating around the room before the speeches.  Dad’s speech went very well; he welcomed friends and relatives who had travelled from Bristol, Lincolnshire, London, North Harrow and Iver Heath.  There were a few jokey references about my childhood antics and nice remarks about Colin and the Easterbrook family as well.  Dad had written his speech and had been practising it in the middle of the countryside, when out on his grocery round – his audience consisted on a herd of cows on one occasion.  Peter Easterbrook did his bit with his speech and then read out the telegrams, I think we had two or three.  Before long we had to go back to The Parade House to change into my “Going Away” outfit.  This was a boat necked cotton dress with orange rosebuds and green leaves, orange cummerbund with lime green duster coat, white bag and shoes.  The dress had a separate full net petticoat which was very scratchy, which I eventually removed when on the train back to Bristol.  After our fond farewells back at St Georges Hall Dad Easterbrook drove us to Letchworth Station to catch the 5.30pm train to Kings Cross, tube to Paddington and thence home to Bristol.  When we got on the train at Paddington we both realised that we were starving.  Neither of us had eaten before the wedding and with all the chatting at the reception plus cutting the cake we had eaten nothing there.  I had never been in a dining car before let alone enjoyed a meal.  This was particularly special being our first meal together as Mr and Mrs Easterbrook.

We arrived at the flat, to be met by our landlady Mrs White, who was very anxious for me to be carried over the threshold and then with knowing look  said “I expect you’ll be wanting to go to bed now”!!  Somewhat cringe making but true!                                                      

The next morning we had a taxi to TempleMeads to catch the train to Torquay, then another taxi to Babbacombe for our honeymoon.  We had booked a week’s holiday at The Laurels Guest House, which was close to the sea and we have an official photo taken by a seaside photographer of us walking down to the beach, soon after we arrived.  I was dressed in a new holiday outfit, tangerine cotton skirt with big pockets and a white sleeveless blouse.  We looked a very happy couple and saw ourselves in an enlarged photo in the kiosk for the rest of the week.                                  

Our time in Babbacombe passed very enjoyably visiting Kent’s Cavern near Torquay, Cockington Forge again and just generally relaxing on the beach.  The gorgeous weather that the rest of the country was enjoying was somewhat marred in Devon by sea mists which took time to burn off in the morning and returned again in the early evening.  The two sets of parents were having a holiday together in Ashwell. Mum and Dad Easterbrook had never visited the area and were being shown around by my Mum and Dad.  They had some lovely days out visiting Cambridge with much fun in a punt along the Backs.  The two ex-sailors got on famously and exchanged tales of experiences and scary situations while serving at sea.  They usually took a picnic and it was a big joke as each day something got forgotten.  One day it was milk for the flask of tea and they had to have clotted cream instead – this brought to go with the strawberries, another day no sugar – a big must for my dad, who had three spoonfuls per cup.  They visited Bedford and Hemingford Grey, near St Ives, more boat trips.

This page was added on 30/05/2012.

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