Sisters’ double joy ... sixty years on

Reliving their wedding day George and Vivian Francis and Anne and Doug Booker, with Rev Rector Sandra Hall.  Photo: Steve Robards SR1811336 SUS-180425-175935001
Reliving their wedding day George and Vivian Francis and Anne and Doug Booker, with Rev Rector Sandra Hall. Photo: Steve Robards SR1811336 SUS-180425-175935001

A chance offer of two homes of their own led two sisters to decide to get married to their fiances on the same day.

And this week - sixty years after their double wedding - the two loving couples are celebrating their diamond anniversaries.

On their wedding day George and Vivian Francis and Anne and Doug Booker.

On their wedding day George and Vivian Francis and Anne and Doug Booker.

Vivian Mason married her beau George Francis and Anne Mason tied the knot with her sweetheart Doug Booker at St Nicholas Church, Itchingfield, on May 10 1958.

And, ahead of their special anniversary, the two couples renewed their vows and received a blessing at the same church on Wednesday.

Also there were Vivian and Anne’s other two sisters - Diana and Pat - who were bridesmaids. Diana herself later went on to wed George’s brother Roy.

Now, sixty years on from the double wedding itself, Anne, 81, credits the secret of her long and happy marriage with former carpenter Doug, 85, to ‘give and take.’

Anne and Doug, who now live in the Mason sisters’ original family home in Barns Green, revealed they first decided to wed in a double ceremony when two flats became available in Warnham.

“The flats were ideal and next door to each other,” said Anne. “So we got married rather quickly.”

Anne’s sister Vivian, now 82, says the secret of her happy marriage to former joiner George, 88 - an honorary life member of the Hand Bell Ringers of Great Britain - is having both different and similar interests.

“I think both having your own interests in life is important so you have always got something to bring back to the partnership - as well as joint interests of course.”

Recalling their double wedding day, Vivian said: “It was amazing. The whole village turned out and all the ladies in the church went out and picked primroses, columbines and bluebells to decorate the church. It was beautiful.”

Both brides - whose father had died when they were young - were given away by their mother Mary.

Now the two couples will be celebrating their 60 happy years together with a big family get together at Warnham Park on May 12. Around 150 people are expected to attend, along with Anne’s three daughters and Vivian’s three daughters and son, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.