Memory Lane: Engraver revealed after 36 years

Barry and Colette Birch when they made their vows in 1976 and (below) Barry with engraver Ken Parkinson who inscribed his wedding rings.
Barry and Colette Birch when they made their vows in 1976 and (below) Barry with engraver Ken Parkinson who inscribed his wedding rings.
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Sweethearts Barry Birch and Colette Turner made their vows and exchanged wedding rings at St Bernadette’s RC Church, Blackpool on August 7, 1976.

It was Colette’s 22nd birthday.

Barry Turner with engraver Ken Parkinson who inscribed his wedding rings.

Barry Turner with engraver Ken Parkinson who inscribed his wedding rings.

They thought it would be nice to have their names inscribed inside the rings and this was arranged by Westhall’s Jewellers in Deansgate who had supplied the wedding bands.

Colette’s name was inscribed in Barry’s ring and his name in his bride’s ring.

Barry often wondered who had actually done the inscribing. His answer came 36 years later in a most unexpected way when he attended a recent meeting of Blackpool South Rotary Club to which he belongs.

The speaker that evening was Ken Parkinson, who had transferred to Blackpool South when his own club, Blackpool Marton Rotary folded. Ken is a heraldic and hand engraver and he retired about six years ago.

He enthralled members with accounts of his working life and demonstrated his skill as a master craftsman. Barry asked Ken if he ever did any work for Westhall’s, and it transpired they were one of Ken’s clients.

Barry handed his ring to Ken, who on examination immediately said: “That’s one of mine! Every engraver can identify his own work.”

Needless to say, Barry was thrilled to find the craftsman who had inscribed their wedding rings after such a long time, particularly as it was a Rotary colleague.