Wedding bells

Donald and Jan Britton (nee Evans) married in Stanley on Grand Final Day in 1977 when Don’s team Collingwood played North Melbourne.

Love. As Grand Final weekend approaches, this lighthearted account of a special day in 1977 will bring a smile to the many spouses who can relate. Jan Britton, who has a shack at Bluff Hill Point, shares her love story with late husband Donald.

Donald and I were married at the Church of England in Stanley on September 24, 1977 on a lovely sunny afternoon. The reception was held in Smithton at the Scotchtown football clubrooms.

I met Donald in London, England in 1974 and moved to Australia in 1975.

I knew very little about Aussie rules football except that Donald’s team was Collingwood. So it was unfortunate that when he asked me to pick a date for the wedding, not only did I pick Grand Final day but that for the first time in seven years Collingwood had made the final.

The match was against North Melbourne, and the Pies hadn’t won a premiership since 1958.

Basically, a lot of people in the church would have preferred to be watching the football, in fact some had transistor radios and were listening to the match during the service.

At least on our way back down the aisle Don was able to find out what the score was.

Unfortunately it was a draw and therefore extra time needed to be played, which delayed the photos being taken for some time.

The night ended up with Donald backing into a stormwater drain in Robert Street, Smithton and having to call a tow truck at midnight as we were driving down to his brother, Ross Britton’s shack at Sundown Point for our honeymoon.

The road was just gravel then and just a track with cows all over the road – in those days farmers were allowed to let their cattle graze in the Arthur River area. We didn’t arrive until 3am.

The match was replayed the following week and Collingwood lost by 27 points.

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