Castle View in Poundbury helped a resident – the Church of England’s longest serving priest – play an important role in his granddaughter’s wedding despite lockdown.
Reverend Jim Cocke, 94, was ordained for more than 67 years, serving as Vicar of All Saints’, Headington, Oxford, before retiring to Dorset in January 2020.
He had been due to give the address at the marriage ceremony of his granddaughter Lucy in April but, like many other weddings across the country, the happy occasion had to be postponed because of Covid.
When the service eventually went ahead under physical distancing restrictions, only 15 people were allowed in the church – St Giles’ at Hooke near Beaminster, Dorset – and Jim could not attend in person. Instead, staff at Castle View ensured he was able to prepare and send a personal address to be read out, highlighting the importance of partnership in sustaining love and marriage.
After the ceremony, they hosted a Covid-safe visit at the home which meant that Jim could see Lucy and husband Nick Dawnay face-to-face.
Jim said: “I felt very much included in the special day. I thought Lucy looked so lovely. It was a great pity not a lot of people could go to the church because of the restrictions, but I am just so proud of her.”
Lucy thanked the Castle View team for enabling the visit to see Jim, saying: “It made my day even more special knowing my grandfather was included.”
Likewise, Jim’s daughter Fiona Boggis, mother of the bride, said: “The staff were brilliant. They did everything they could so Lucy and Nick could come and visit. They even put out banners and balloons to welcome them. They couldn’t have been kinder.”
Katja Williams, Companionship Team Leader at Castle View, said: “We are very privileged to have Reverend Jim with us in the home. He kindly leads Sunday morning hymns and Bible reading much to the appreciation of those attending. We were only too happy to do what we could to address the challenges of Covid restrictions to ensure he could enjoy his family’s special day. We all extend our congratulations to the happy couple, wishing them a life of joy and blessings.”