Wedding days can be stressful at the best of times – but imagine having two family weddings and two receptions on the same day.
That’s what happened when twin sisters Jean and Ann Renfree married their sweethearts 50 years ago.
Both couples were married within hours of each other on February 17, 1968, at St John’s Church, Upper Hopton.
It posed a big logistical exercise for all concerned – with Jean, the older twin by a matter of minutes, and her beau Stuart Ellam first to the altar at 11am with Ann and the twins’ younger sister Beryl in attendance as bridesmaids.
Following Jean and Stuart’s reception, it was the turn of Ann and Nigel Benner to exchange vows at the same church at 2.30pm with Jean and Beryl as bridesmaids followed by their reception at the same venue, Croft House Rooms.
The double celebration required a quick change from bride’s dresses to bridesmaid’s dresses for Jean and Ann while Beryl had a different bridesmaid’s dress for each ceremony.
Now the two couples are set to celebrate their golden weddings with a party for family and friends followed by a cruise.
Jean and Ann, who are 70, grew up in Lepton and attended Lepton School and Skelmanthorpe Secondary before both going into office-based jobs.
They both met their future husbands at work. Jean met Stuart at Atkinson’s Garage, Folly Hall, where he was a mechanic. Ann met Nigel when they both worked for the gas board.
Stuart, 75, grew up in Hopton and attended Hopton School while Nigel, 76, grew up near Ravensknowle Park and went to Rawthorpe School. After working at Atkinson’s, Stuart became a self-employed mechanic. Nigel left the gas board when his work was switched to Tingley and worked at Trinity Garage in Huddersfield for many years.
Jean and Stuart, who live at Kirkheaton, have two sons, Paul and Kevin, and grandchildren Michael and Henrietta. Ann and Nigel, who live at Deighton, have daughters Sally and Christine and son, Brian as well as grandchildren Matthew, Jack, Philippa and Freddie.
The twins and their sister Beryl Simpson, 69, remain close. They all meet once a week for a drink whenever they can while Jean and Ann get together every Saturday evening at the Blacksmiths Arms at Kirkheaton. They also enjoy attending the gym.
Beryl, who lives at Skelmanthorpe, said: “People thought we were triplets when we were young because mum dressed us all alike. There was just 13 months between my sisters and me. We were always introduced with: ‘This is the twins and this is Beryl, who is the odd one out’.”