Here com the bride - with her dad as the parish priest

Sarah Masshedar with dad Richard who will conduct her wedding ceremony.

Sarah Masshedar with dad Richard who will conduct her wedding ceremony.

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SARAH Masshedar won’t be walking down the aisle with her dad by her side when she gets married tomorrow – instead he will be carrying out the special service, as the parish priest.

Father Richard Masshedar, parish priest of St Paul’s Church, in Grange Road, said it will be an “absolute privilege” to marry Sarah and her husband-to-be Craig Read.

Sarah, 28, who will be walked down the aisle by her older brother James, 30, has worshipped at the church since the family moved to Hartlepool from Gateshead in 1994 and has always wanted her dad to conduct the service on her special day.

And as soon as Craig, 25, popped the question on Valentine’s Day last year, Sarah, her dad and the rest of the family put the wheels in motion to organise the wedding ceremony, which is set to be a real family occasion with Sarah’s younger sister Rachel, 17, as the chief bridesmaid.

“I would never have it any other way,” said Sarah, a nurse and mum of Grace Read, who turned two last week.

“I think it will be lovely, it just makes it even more special and personal.

“I’ve always wanted my dad to carry out the service as the parish priest.

“It’s lovely for him as well, he’s really excited.”

Father Richard, 56, who is married to Julia, 53, echoes Sarah’s excitement.

He said: “It will be a wonderful happy day and it’s an absolute privilege for me.
“It will be lovely for Sarah to get married at the church where she has worshipped and served at the altar for so long.”

Straight from the church, Father Richard will be joining the rest of the family at the Grand Hotel, where he will again be central to proceedings with his father of the bride speech.

Father Richard is no stranger to weddings. Anything but. Yet he does admit he will be feeling a few nerves when he gets up tomorrow.

“I’m sure I will have a few nerves, yes,” he said.

“But that’s not a bad thing, they help to keep you on your toes.”

Sarah and Craig, who works at Npower and lives in the Hart Lane area of Hartlepool, have known each other for many years but lost contact when Craig moved away.

They got back in touch when he moved back to Hartlepool.

And Sarah said Craig was just as pleased that his soon- to-be father-in-law was marrying the happy couple: “My dad and Craig get on like a house on fire, so he’s just as pleased as I am.”