A tale of two brides and one special dress

Something borrowed: Sonia Dunstone on her wedding day - and Patsy on her special day 50 years later
Something borrowed: Sonia Dunstone on her wedding day - and Patsy on her special day 50 years later

A couple celebrated their golden wedding on the same day their daughter walked down the aisle and said ‘I will’.

Half a century ago on April 4, 1964, at 2pm, Alan Dunstone married his childhood sweetheart Sonia Knight in St Paul’s Church, Paignton, Devon.

The bride’s dress had been made for her by her dressmaker aunt who lived with the family.

Sonia said: “After our wedding, the dress was stored away wrapped in an old blanket in a suitcase and moved several times with the family before we settled at Onley Park, Rugby, in 1976.

“Alan was a prison officer and I worked as a nurse in the X-ray department at St Cross Hospital.”

At one time the dress was thought to be lost, but it was discovered in the loft a year ago. “It had survived remarkably well,” added Sonia. “The gown just has a pale pink confetti stain on the side of the train due to the dreadful weather on our wedding day and the fact that confetti in those days was not colourfast!”

The couple’s youngest daughter Patsy asked permission to wear her dress, to get married to William Dickenson at Rugby Register Office.

On the day Patsy was attended by daughter Harriet, 16, her son Fraser, 13 and the couple’s three-year-old son Rhys acted as best man. Their reception was held at Barby Cricket Club.

In his speech, Patsy’s dad said: “This is the second time in 50 years that I have stood beside this dress.”

A meal for the family was arranged for the following evening, but unknown to Sonia and Alan, their children and grandchildren had arranged a golden wedding party back at the cricket club. It was organised by their four children and their partners, five of their seven grandchildren and other members of their family. Sonia said: “It was a truly memorable, emotional and beautiful family weekend.”