Help find our mystery wedding witnesses

A couple will have the big wedding they didn't have 50 years ago.

And now they want to find the total strangers they dragged in off the street to be their witnesses.

George and Clarissa Vickers of Hammond Court, Plungington, Preston, will celebrate half a century of married bliss by renewing their vows next week and want to find the couple that made it all possible.

The 18-year-olds were married at the old Preston Register Office by special licence as Clarissa's father wouldn't consent to his daughter marrying a "teddy boy".

But on the day of the nuptials their intended witnesses, George's school friends, were taken ill with flu and were unable to attend.

So the pair were forced to ask total strangers from the street to act as their best man and bridesmaid.

George says: "We arrived at the Register Office and didn't have any witnesses so the registrar told us we would have to go out on to the street and try and get someone to witness our marriage – they were total strangers."

And now, as the couple prepare to renew their vows, surrounded by their friends and family at the Emmanuel Church, they are attempting to track the witnesses – named on their marriage certificate as Owen and Mary Coyle.

Clarissa, who has suffered from skin cancer, and George, a retired grinder at Rothwell International, first met at the Parkinson biscuit factory, Kirkham, where George was a lorry driver and Clarissa packed chocolate biscuits.

The couple's five children, 21 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren will all join in the celebrations on September 16.

Clarissa says: "I can't even remember my wedding day as we married and then just got the bus home so I said that if we made it to 50 years we would renew our vows.

"My dad was gobsmacked when I told him that we'd got married and told me that it wouldn't last six months but he grew to love George and he absolutely adored him.

"I wanted to go out on the night of my wedding to meet George but my dad said, 'Don't be late' and I said, 'Don't boss me about, I'm married now'."

George and Clarissa are also to jet off to Greece for their honeymoon."

Clarissa says: "We didn't have anything at our first wedding, we don't even have a photograph and we certainly didn't have a honeymoon, so we are going to Kos for two weeks to have our first honeymoon.

George will present Clarissa with a new wedding ring at the church service and all the family are to gather for celebrations at Arkwrights on Plungington Road afterwards.

Were you the strangers who witnessed George and Clarissa's marriage or know the people that did? If so contact Natalie Banks at the Lancashire Evening Post on 01772 838196 or email