Our Chairman Andrew Haigh and Alison Traher (pictured left) were married this week in the chapel at HRI ... 35 years after they first met!
The wedding needed a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Registrar to go ahead but HRI is so special for them both it had to be there. They are pictured with our CEO Owen Williams and his wife Heather.
Andrew has been our chairman since 2011 and Alison used to roller-skate around the new HRI building before it came into service. Her father was group superintendent radiographer for all the local hospitals and was based here and her mum was a nurse in geriatrics and pathology for more than 20 years in Huddersfield hospitals. She wore her mother's nursing buckle for the ceremony and carried a photo of her father in her bouquet.
Her son led her up the aisle to the theme tune of telly's Formula 1 coverage and they came out to the Beach Boys' God Only Knows....... A reception was held at Andrew's Huddersfield home and they are now honeymooning abroad.
Our chairman - renowned for his ties - had a new one for the day and didn't disappoint in the colour stakes.
The couple first knew each other in their late teens, in a group of friends in Huddersfield, and dated for three weeks but then went their separate ways. Alison used to live in Lindley and as our chapelk is in St Stephen's Parich the church loaned kneelers for the ceremony.
Alison moved with her family to Dorset and over the next 30 years they both married and divorced and, although they spoke a couple of times, weren't in touch.
In 2010 Andrew had to give up work as his late wife, Irene, became ill. During this time Andrew relied heavily on support of his network of friends and this led to him being reunited with Alison.
One friend told him she had been in touch with Alison and Andrew asked her to pass on his regards and his number if Alison wanted a catch-up. A few weeks afterwards he got a call and Alison - now living in Suffolk. Over the next months Alison became a strong source of support often over the phone at night.
He said: " Over time, Ali and I would talk most nights on the phone quite often for more than an hour at a time. We even watched films together whilst 170 miles apart!"
Andrew's wife's condition sadly deteriorated further and Alison continued to be there for him .
Andrew said: "She was an absolute rock. Ali effectively lived through these years with me. After Irene died in 2015 we realised it was more than a friendship. It is fair to say we fell in love over the phone - without seeing each other for nearly 35 years.”
Chaplain George Spencer, said: "It’s great the Hope Centre could be used for such a happy event as Andrew and Alison’s wedding, as so often it is a place where people look for solace at sad times. Andrew and Alison are a great couple. I was quite excited about it – they were, of course, very excited about it and we had a lovely day. I wish them all happiness for their future together.”
* Because the chapel is not licensed for weddings, not like parish churches.