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From Centre of the Kingdom to Capital of Love

Mayor and Mayoress Ranson
Ribble Valley Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Janette Ranson pictured at their favourite Ribble Valley beauty spot, Sawley
Published Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A rural borough famed for its fine food and beautiful countryside looks set to become the capital of love.

And the search is on for Ribble Valley’s King and Queen of Love as part of borough council’s Wedding Heaven tourism initiative.

To mark Valentine’s Day, a dream prize, including a vow-renewal ceremony and spa afternoon, is up for grabs by the borough’s most loving couple.

Wedding Heaven, a partnership between Ribble Valley Borough Council and 15 venues licensed for marriage and civil ceremonies, was launched last November to promote the borough as a premier wedding destination.

Ribble Valley boasts a large number of wedding venues, among them hotels, manor houses, stately homes, historic churches and the iconic Clitheroe Castle, as well as an abundance of accommodation and wedding suppliers.

Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson said: “Ribble Valley is famed for many things, including its fine food and first-rate schools, beautiful countryside and magical scenery, low crime rate and low council tax.

“It is the exact centre of the kingdom and even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth said in her official biography that she would like to retire here.

“My wife, Janette, and I have enjoyed 45 years of happy marriage, many of it in Ribble Valley, which we believe is one of the most beautiful areas in the country.”

“Weddings provide a fantastic showcase for Ribble Valley and its businesses and by forging the Wedding Heaven partnership the council is working to establish the borough as the UK’s capital of love.”

The mayor and mayoress were married at Blackburn Cathedral in August 1970, followed by a reception at the Spread Eagle, which is offering a vow-renewal ceremony followed by drinks and canapés for 20 guests to the borough’s most loving couple.

After renewing their vows, the prizewinning lovebirds will be whisked away for a romantic dinner and overnight stay at a top Ribble Valley venue, as well as a host other goodies, including a spa afternoon at the plush Stanley House Hotel, Mellor.

The council’s tourism and events officer, Tom Pridmore, said: “We all know Ribble Valley is a beautiful place in which to live and visit, but now it’s becoming the UK’s top spot for love and romance, or to tie the knot. 

“We want to hear from residents who think they know who the borough’s most loving couple are. They might have overcome adversity to be together, met and courted in the borough, or created a loving family. Whoever it is, they have a love of Ribble Valley and each other.”

If you know Ribble Valley’s King and Queen of Love, e-mail tourism@ribblevalley.gov.uk explaining why in 200 words or less by Friday 6 March. The winner will be chosen at random from the shortlisted entries and further details are available from Tom Pridmore on 01200 425111.

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