Belfast Telegraph

52 years after a car crash ruined their honeymoon, Marie dons her wedding dress at fashion show

By Stewart Robson

A Londonderry woman who was seriously injured in a wedding day car crash over 50 years ago has had the chance to wear her dress from that dramatic day once more - at a vintage fashion show in Strabane.

Marie Diamond and husband Harry were involved in a collision with a telegraph pole in October 1965 as the newlyweds set off on their honeymoon to Bray, Co Wicklow.

Mrs Diamond, who celebrated her 73rd birthday last month, met her husband at a dance hall in Derry in the early 1960s.

"We were married in Christ Church in Londonderry and our reception was in the Northern Counties Hotel in Portrush, where my father was the head chef," she said.

"It was such a lovely day with the sun shining, although it did of course become slightly more eventful."

News of the crash was first published in the Sentinel the day after, and excerpts from the newspaper were discovered by Mrs Diamond's daughter Carole Culbert during a recent library visit.

"I remember getting ready to travel to Bray in our little mini van. All the guests had tied the tin cans on to the back of it and waved us off from the hotel.

"The van just went into a wobble and that's really what I can remember. My husband was knocked out and was having chest compressions.

"In the end he was actually just more concerned about me.

"Coming up behind us on the road was a priest and he pulled over to see what had happened and he thought it was so serious that he actually gave me my last rites.

"The mini van really wasn't strong and parts of the metal had actually gone into my knee.

"We were taken to the nearest hospital, in Drogheda. We were there for about four or five days."

Mrs Diamond said she was so thankful for the friends who rallied round her in the aftermath.

"All my work friends from the Rosemount Factory called up to see me and they were so good in looking after us both. People ask me where did I actually have my honeymoon and I say, well, we were meant to have it in Bray but we didn't reach it, we decided to have it in hospital in Drogheda instead.

"Thankfully, I wasn't wearing my wedding dress at the time of the crash. I was wearing a bottle green suit, which managed to survive. I had left the dress back in the hotel with my mum where everybody started to get news back about what had happened.

"It was a massive shock.

"When I hear people talking about what happened now it just seems like another lifetime. We just feel so blessed to have survived it all."

Last month the Diamonds were able to relive their big day at a council-run event - but with a less eventful ending than 53 years ago. The Living Vintage Fashion Show at the Alley Theatre in Strabane gave Mrs Diamond the opportunity to wear her dress once more.

"I hadn't worn my dress since the day of the wedding and I said to Carole that it was going to be some fun trying to fit back into it. I said I'll walk out onto the stage and pull my breath in," she said.

"But it was lovely.

"Harry wasn't even expecting to come up on stage with me. My daughter and an employee from the council encouraged him to.

"He wasn't even dressed for the occasion and I was asked why I didn't dress him up for the day."

Mrs Diamond never got the chance to celebrate her honeymoon but now she's looking forward to a going on a couple of breaks this year. She added: "Over Easter we hope to get a few days away and in the summer too. Sadly, we never even reached Bray but we're looking forward to getting away this year."

Carole said she was proud of her mother and father.

She added: "I'm thrilled to have seen them at the show. They are a wonderful couple and amazing parents."

Belfast Telegraph

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