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Jon Hinchliffe



Maria and Jon's Wedding

Maria and Jon first met in a hotel in Rotherham on 30th September 2001. This was actually an innocent meeting. Jon had been to a Rick Wakeman concert the night before and went down to breakfast to see only one other guest having breakfast. Jon was bored and curious why anyone would want to stay in a hotel in Rotherham. (Not that there was anything wrong with Rotherham. Just that he had not spotted what the attractions might be.) Maria said that she had been to see Rick Wakeman the night before and Jon therefore got talking. It turned out Maria had traveled up from Braintree which was just 30 miles from Jon's house and Maria offered Jon a lift home as she did not really fancy the drive by herself. Jon had traveled by train to Rotherham and there had been several delays and changes of train so he readily accepted. Little did he know what it would lead to on 30th September 2003!

St Nicholas Church, Ipswich

St.Nicholas Church, Ipswich

Within the four hour Journey home Jon had talked an awful lot about his life and Maria and been equally open back. By the time Jon had left Maria his e-mail he had be left thinking how compatible Maria sounded to him. Maria had been left with the same impression of Jon. Within 5 weeks Jon had proposed to Maria and she had accepted. They knew this would sound crazy to the world and there were a lot of hurdles in the way so they kept this a secret until 30th September 2002 when they went public to their families. By then though everyone knew it would happen.

In addition to a list of all the previous vicars there were two plaques with Maria's Great Grandfather and Great Great Grandfather on

One of the coincidences of the meeting was that Maria's family had strong religious connections to Ipswich. Her great great granddad and great granddad had been vicars at St. Nicholas church for 60 years between them. Therefore on Jon's 2nd date with Maria he took her to St. Nicholas church which was redundant and they had a look around the outside. They discovered who the keyholder was and on 13th December 2001 they got to see inside the church.



St Nicholas Church, Ipswich

The Church as it was in 2001. Maria was checking out the view her relations had

While the place was dusty it still looked as it did when it had been last used. Malcolm Green from the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich mentioned that plans were afoot to convert the church to a conferencing facility and they hoped work would begin the following year. Maria and Jon's brain's immediately went "ping" and they both silently thought wouldn't it be wonderful if the wedding or blessing could take place in St. Nicholas church.

So on 30th September 2003 it did.

In 2001 Jon got to see the Bells. These were in good working order and sounded great on the day.

The renovation work on St. Nicholas church had still to receive planing permission but it was still to go ahead so having the great-granddaughter of one of the last vicars in the church wanting to use the church was a rather special event for the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich. They were actually incredibly helpful and couldn't do enough for the happy couple. Jon and Maria when they heard the renovation work had not happened had literally expected to just borrow the key for an afternoon. Instead the church had been cleaned up, some boards removed from the front doors revealing a nice glass door and the offices of the Diocese were closed so all the staff could attend the wedding!

Prior to the day Maria was asked to give an interview for BBC Radio Suffolk

Becky Betts from Radio Suffolk interviews Maria about the big day. Jon occasionally got a word in!

There was also press interest from the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Evening Star.

When the happy couple arrived at the church they were stunned to see a camera from BBC Look East there. Maria and Jon's shoestring budget wedding was actually shown as a news item for 22 seconds or so in the East Anglia region.

Les Ward from BBC Look East was on the scene filming to Maria's horror!

As Jon was creating this page Maria's mum phoned up to say she had just been looking through her grandfathers old letters and she had come across one where he was talking about his last service being on 30th September 1962. What a strange coincidence!

At Register Office - L-R Liam, Tino (Best Man), Jon, Abbie, Zoe, Maria, Dawn (Chief Bridesmaid), Becky

Outside The Register Office

All the guests at the blessing

With Malcolm Green who was fantastic in allowing and arranging for the blessing to be held in St. Nicholas Church

It never was established who these gatecrashers were!

Were these the bride and groom?

Jon was honored to have Tino Troy from the band Praying Mantis as his best man.

Jon and Maria's family with Tino and Dawn

If you want to see more photos go here



2008 Jon Hinchliffe. E-mails welcome!