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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Radio tunes in to Gretna after Cheryl’s wedding

BOSSES at Gretna Green’s Famous Blacksmith Shop raised a toast to Cheryl Cole’s secret wedding after it put the national spotlight on their own tradition of runaways.

Sue Clark, whose family own and run the 301-year-old building which marries couples ‘over the anvil’, spoke to broadcaster Vanessa Feltz live on her top-rated BBC London talk show as well as BBC 5 Live.

“The phone lines have literally not stopped ringing since news of Cheryl’s secret wedding on Mustique broke yesterday morning,” said Mrs Clark.

Formerly married to footballer Ashley Cole, the ex Girls Aloud singer and X Factor judge wed French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini last week.

Alongside a picture of her wedding ring, Cheryl Cole wrote on her website: “I usually do not discuss my personal life but to stop the speculation I want to share my happy news. We are excited to move forward with our lives together.”

Mrs Clark said she “absolutely” got the pop star’s decision as she had grown up with secret weddings through her family business.

“The Famous Blacksmiths Shop has witnessed thousands of ‘secret’ weddings since stricter marriage laws were passed in England in 1754 and runaways eloped over the border to get married.

“While the tradition of 16 and 17-year-olds eloping in the old-fashioned sense of the word has more or less died out we still get couples – especially older people on perhaps a second marriage – who just want the focus of the day to be them, without all the pomp and ceremony of a big traditional wedding.

“Sometimes we have to find someone to be a witness but it can be a very intimate and romantic affair.”

Mrs Clark confirmed that several celebrities had secretly got married at the Famous Blacksmiths Shop down the years.

“But, of course, I can’t tell you who they are,” she added.

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