Dennis and Janet journey from Australia to set foot in Eyemouth once again

Australian parents celebrate Golden Wedding Anniversary after eloping to Eyemouth
Australian parents celebrate Golden Wedding Anniversary after eloping to Eyemouth

IT was the wedding that made the front page of ‘The Berwickshire News’ back in 1962 and had their families tearing their hair out and the couple responsible are heading to Eyemouth next month to re-visit the place where they married 50 years ago.

Dennis Chapman and Janet Frayatt went against the wishes of their parents, particularly Janet’s mother, and escaped from their native Wimbledon bound for north of the border so they could be wed.

Miss Janet Sandra Fryatt and Mr Dennis Charles Chapman who were married in Eyemouth registary office after eloping from Wimbolden

Miss Janet Sandra Fryatt and Mr Dennis Charles Chapman who were married in Eyemouth registary office after eloping from Wimbolden

They hadn’t planned on walking down the aisle until a romantic rendevous in a bicycle shed led to Janet falling pregnant.

On arriving in Scotland, the runaways’ first port of call was Edinburgh but after deciding that the capital city wasn’t to their liking they ended up in Eyemouth.

During their time in the seaside town, Dennis, who was 21 at the time, and Janet (17) stayed with a Mrs Tait at 21 High Street and were married by the then Eyemouth registrar Willie Gillie, with Eyemouth couple Mr J.P. Patterson and Mrs E. Aitchison acting as witnesses.

In the run up to their impending nuptuals, the young couple feared court action from Janet’s mother but fortunately for them this never came and their wedding went off without any interruption.

Due to the fact that their families didn’t approve, the photograph in the March 6, 1962, edition of ‘The Berwickshire News’ is the only treasured photo they have of their wedding day.

After being joined in holy matrimony, Dennis and Janet plucked up the courage to return to England, with Dennis quoted as saying: “We liked Eyemouth but we have had nothing to do and I’ll be glad to return home.”

Janet added: “I’m hoping they’ll be reconciled to our wedding by now.”

However, they weren’t exactly welcomed back to Wimbledon with open arms - they were greeted by Janet’s mum who promptly beat her new son-in-law over the head with her handbag!

It was the couple’s first child also called Janet (the product of the bike shed encounter) who got in touch with ‘The Berwickshire News’ to inform us of her parents’ impending trip to these parts to mark the occasion of their Golden Wedding. After welcoming a second daughter into the world in 1964, Dennis and Janet migrated to Australia in 1966 with the remaining members on both sides of the family (including Janet’s mother) following in a few years.

Once settled Down Under, the couple built and ran a successful plumbing hardware store and are now happily retired.