Thursday, April 10, 2008

First wedding in Adelina Patti theatre - 1948

Thelma Bebell getting ready for her marriage

It was like something out of a romantic Victorian Gothic novel: young girl stricken with TB lying in bed in remote Welsh castle gets up and marries her boyfriend before he goes off to fight in a war.

And the Archbishop of Canterbury issues a special license to allow this to take place.

For twenty year old Thelma Bebell from Swansea did just that in 1948 and it created a national sensation.

Although bedridden she got out of her bed in Ward 1, wearing just her dressing-gown and helped by a nursing sister ( who is this Sister? )
and walked the short distance to the Adelina Patti theatre.

There she married Gordon Poole, age 26, an RAF aircraftsman, at a ceremony attended by relatives and hospital staff .

The ceremony over Thelma was helped back to her bed and Gordon went to Aden.

Several years were to pass before they were able to live together . Yet he did return safely from the war and Thelma recovered and the couple were able finally to start married life together. they moved abroad, to Germany, where he was stationed with the Armed Forces and they had two sons.

And this story of passion and undying love is still retold fondly today in the Swansea valley.

Unfortunately Thelma’s life was cut prematurely short: she died at the early age of 43 years from a brain haemorrhage.

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