Ecclesiastical experience for a sparkling occasion

the Reverend Bob King blessing Alan and Pam Hall after the renewing of their vows. Right, the Reverend John Grover, with the Reverend Ian Clark, back right, and the Reverend Canon Tim Morris, centre back, plus members of the choir and organist

the Reverend Bob King blessing Alan and Pam Hall after the renewing of their vows. Right, the Reverend John Grover, with the Reverend Ian Clark, back right, and the Reverend Canon Tim Morris, centre back, plus members of the choir and organist

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One-hundred-and-sixty-one years of ministerial experience came together on Sunday to help celebrate a Kelso couple’s diamond wedding.

Five weeks ago, Alan Hall was appointed emeritus lay reader by the Episcopalian Bishop of Edinburgh, John Armes, in recognition of his long-standing work for St Andrew’s Church in Kelso.

But on Sunday, instead of his usual place in the choir stalls, Alan was with his wife, Pam, on the front pew, where they were both delighted to find their youngest son, Ian, and his partner, Debbie, who had travelled up from Windsor for the day – a surprise organised by the rector, the Reverend Bob King.

The couple were also given a rare tribute by the coming together of four members of the clergy the couple had known and supported over the years.

Surrounded by friends at the morning service, the couple renewed their marriage vows, blessed by Mr King, this year celebrating 21 years since his ordination.

Celebrant was the Reverend Canon Tim Morris – ordained 40 years ago – interim pastor prior to Mr King’s arrival and who the couple have known since moving to the Borders more than 20 years ago; the Reverend John Grover, now part of the ministry team at St John’s Church, Jedburgh, but formerly the Halls’ vicar in Cookham, Berkshire (he celebrates 50 years in the church this year), read the gospel; while preacher was the Reverend Ian Clark, a regular assistant at St Andrew’s who this year celebrates half a century in the church and has been a friend of the couple for many years.

The clergy and congregation later toasted the couple at a buffet provided by them in the church.

Alan, who is 84, is a member of Kelso Rotary Club and a past president of the town’s Probus Club, while Pam, 83, is a member of East Borders Inner Wheel, St Andrew’s Women’s Fellowship and the SWI at Stichill, where the couple lived until moving to Kelso earlier this year.

Their anniversary today (Thursday) begins with a special Eucharist at the church at 8.30am.

They will have another celebration at Windsor in September with more of their family of three sons, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

z The picture shows the Reverend Bob King blessing Alan and Pam Hall after the renewing of their vows. Right, the Reverend John Grover, with the Reverend Ian Clark, back right, and the Reverend Canon Tim Morris, centre back, plus members of the choir and organist.