Westminster Wedding Bells

On the 8th September 2012 the bells of Westminster Abbey rang to celebrate a wedding, this time not a royal one but the marriage of Carol Ripley to the Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Minor Canon and Sacrist at Westminster Abbey.

The wedding was special in many ways. Not only was it the first time in at least 60 years that banns had been read in the Abbey, but the Scottish bride (a fine musician herself) entered to the glorious sound of piper Niall Bowser’s unique composition, ‘Doune the Isle’, the first time that a bride is thought to have been piped down the Abbey aisle.

Carol, who learnt to ring at St Andrew’s, Histon and is a member of that band, was keen for the bells to be part of her celebrations (they even featured in the Address!). So as well as the Abbey band ringing four courses of Stedman Caters after the service, five ringers from Histon were pleased to be invited to contribute to the occasion by ringing touches of Stedman and Grandsire Caters. Whilst nerve-racking for some, it was a hugely enjoyable experience.

Following the wedding and ringing a large reception was held in College Garden, behind the Abbey. With Big Ben on one side and the Abbey on another, even the weather couldn’t resist putting on its best face to shine on this beautiful setting, Carol and Jamie, and their families and friends. In the evening numerous kilts were on display at a lively celebratory ceilidh as Jamie (also now kilted) and his lady led the way.

Many congratulations to Carol and Jamie on their marriage - we wish them every happiness in their life together!

Helen Atkins and Camilla Haggett