Monday, 08 August 2022

Couple celebrate golden anniversary at church where they wed

A COUPLE who were married at a Henley church returned to celebrate their golden anniversary.

A COUPLE who were married at a Henley church returned to celebrate their golden anniversary.

John Byrne, 75, and his wife Ann, 74, tied the knot at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Vicarage Road on January 8, 1966.

Mrs Byrne, née Ryan, grew up in Remenham Hill with her parents, Stewart and Rachel, and attended Rupert House School in Bell Street, Henley.

She met her husband in 1961 while studying for a French and Spanish degree at Trinity College in Dublin, where he lived. Following a short honeymoon the couple settled in the Irish capital and have lived there ever since.

Mrs Byrne stayed at home to raise their five children while her husband worked as a laboratory technician at Guinness’s St James’s Gate brewery and later in financial services.

They were married by Canon Denis Toplass, who was parish priest from 1964 until his death in 1991.

A report and photograph appeared on the front page of the following week’s Henley Standard. On Friday, the couple attended a mass led by Monsignor Anthony Wilcox, the former parish priest who retired in September after 23 years.

About a dozen worshippers were present and congratulated the couple after the service. The pair flew home over the weekend.

Mrs Byrne said: “The wedding was a lovely occasion. It was an afternoon ceremony, which was very unusual for Catholics then.

“We held the reception at my family home then it was off to London. At the time my mother was very ill and I needed to find someone to care for her. I came back to the church thinking I might never see her again but she lived to the age of 96.

“We still come back as often as we can, though we visited more frequently when our children were younger and my parents were still alive.

“It’s always lovely to be back. Not much has changed about Henley in all those years, although the church has been extensively refurbished and it looks really nice now.”

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