Ruby wedding couple are returning to site of first kiss

David and Michelle Surrell pictured on their wedding day in 1976.
David and Michelle Surrell pictured on their wedding day in 1976.

Romantic pair set to renew wedding vows

A couple who met in Whitby as teenagers are set to return in December to renew their wedding vows, on the eve of their ruby wedding anniversary.

Michelle Surrell was just 17 and expecting her first child when she married her husband David in 1976.

The couple had previously met two years earlier when he was 19 in an amusement arcade when Michelle was on holiday in Whitby with her friend whose grandma lived in the area.

A relationship that began with disapproving looks from some in attendance at their wedding has since blossomed into a wonderful, happy and well-travelled life and the couple are now preparing to return to St Hilda’s Church, the site of their first kiss, in December.

They now live between Leeds and Bradford and have three children and six grandchildren ranging in age from 18 to one.

Looking back on their wedding day, Michelle said: “It was a week after my 17th birthday and I was marrying the boy I had met when I was 15 and on holiday in Whitby, having only seen
him on a number of weekends since then. We were great letter writers though!

“I was pregnant and we had no money but we were very happy. I think it’s safe to say that with hindsight, many of the people at the wedding were probably less certain of our happiness than we were.”

Despite only meeting on a number of occasions prior to their big day, Michelle and David were in regular contact, sharing frequent calls from phone boxes and writing a great number of letters to each other.

Michelle said: “I always kept the letters David wrote to me and I found out, several years later, that David still has all the letters I wrote to him.”

David Surrell lived on Silver Street in Whitby for around two years in the mid 1970s.

The couple recently celebrated David’s 60th birthday by travelling around the world, visiting 25 countries.

The renewal of vows will take place at 2pm on December 3 at St Hilda’s Church on Walker Street.