A COUPLE have tied the knot in the first same-sex marriage to take place in Cam and Dursley.
Harry Simmonds, 34, and John Simmonds, 37, made history at a ceremony at the Quarry Chapel in Cam on Saturday afternoon.
Their wedding came after church members voted to allow gay marriages last year.
Harry and John – who own Harry Daniels hair salon in Stonehouse – have lived close to the Quarry Chapel for nearly 15 years.
They originally got engaged in August 2019 but had to delay their wedding due to Covid lockdowns.
The special day marked 15 years since Harry and John first met on a blind date together.
It was also a historical day as the United Reformed Church chapel hasn’t hosted a wedding for over 20 years.
Harry said it was ‘magical’ seeing the tiny chapel come to life.
He said: “The day went amazing.
“It was very magical seeing the chapel come to life and to be used for a historical event made it even more special.
“The service was very intimate with close family and friends.
“We were planning to get married at Stroud registry office but we sadly had to cancel due to Covid lockdowns.
“We decided to wait a while before rebooking as having to cancel our wedding was extremely upsetting after waiting years to get married.
“When we saw online the Quarry Chapel had announced they were starting to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies we had to inquire.
“When we met with the minister Rev Simon Helme he was very accepting and respectful to us and we decided the Quarry Chapel would be perfect for the type of service we wanted.
“It feels a little surreal to be a part of this very special historical event for the chapel and Cam and Dursley.”
The Quarry Chapel is currently the only venue in the Cam and Dursley area which offers gay marriages.
Quarry Chapel Minister the Rev Simon Helme, who officiated the wedding, said: “The love in the room was palpable as was the sense of the deep commitment being made by Harry and John.
“The wedding was an absolute joy.
“It was a privilege to officiate their wedding as it is at every wedding. But it’s been many years since the last wedding at the Quarry Chapel.
“Of course we all know the long and difficult journey to get to a point where same-sex marriage can be celebrated and solemnised in our society.
“It was the first same-sex church wedding to take place in Cam and Dursley and that added an extra dimension to the poignancy and joy of the occasion.
“The Quarry Chapel believes Jesus came for all people and that love is love.
“Harry and John’s devotion to one another is clear to see and I imagine everyone there was aware of what a blessing it was to be part of their day.
“The Quarry wanted to be a place where love and commitment can be celebrated and hopefully Harry and John’s wedding will be the first of many.
“We wish them every blessing in their life together.”
There are currently plans to develop the Quarry chapel as a community well-being centre and to bring it back into the heart of the community.
Volunteers want to upgrade the chapel with a new kitchen and toilet facilities to make the small building fully accessible.
Renovation work is due to start on the Quarry Chapel next month.
Its fourth annual community project 3D Community Advent Calendars is due to take place at the start of December.