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Can you help solve the mystery of Sidcup’s abandoned wedding?

PUBLISHED: 10:15 09 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:15 09 March 2017

St John's Church in Sidcup

St John's Church in Sidcup

Archant

The mystery dates back to the 1920s

Elizabeth Willis pictured with her grandson, Brian Hope in 1948.Elizabeth Willis pictured with her grandson, Brian Hope in 1948.

Families from Dartford and Sidcup have joined forces to unravel the mystery of a half-filled marriage certificate which dates back to July 1927.

Married couple George and Elaine Willis, together with Sidcup brothers Brian and Derek Hope, are appealing for help to discover what happened at the failed wedding of James Price and their ancestor, Elizabeth Willis.

So far their research has established that Miss Willis, who was blind, deaf and unable to speak, lived in Alma Road with her parents George and Matilda, her five siblings and an eight-year-old daughter named Daisy-Anne.

By the year they were married, Mr Price had also moved into the house.

The entry in the registers of St John’s Church, Sidcup where the wedding was being written up, but never completed.The entry in the registers of St John’s Church, Sidcup where the wedding was being written up, but never completed.

“As the years rolled by it seems as if a veil of secrecy had enveloped the life and times of the Willis family,” said Brian Hope.

“Our mother, who married William Hope in 1938, refused to speak about her father and with great difficulty it was indicated to us by our grandmother Elizabeth that mum’s father was a soldier who had disappeared after the First World War, but that was never confirmed.”

Photographer Derek Hope has many questions about that summers day, nine decades ago.

“If our mother knew what happened, she took the secret with her to the grave,” he said

Elizabeth Willis' daughter Daisy-Ann Hope in 1944.Elizabeth Willis' daughter Daisy-Ann Hope in 1944.

“Might it be that officiating at a wedding ceremony where the bride was deaf, could not speak and blind would have been a virtually impossible task? Might one or the other of the couple have been jilted at the altar? Was there an objection? Someone somewhere will have the key to the mystery I feel sure”.

Despite tracking his grandfather, Elizabeth’s brother, down to the house in Alma Road, George Willis has never been able to meet up with any of the Willis family, aside from his father, Norman.

“Sadly, my father in law passed away before we have been able to come up with answers to the mystery” said wife Elaine, “And we are just hoping that someone out there may be able to give us a clue”.

Mr Willis added “My grandmother’s side of my family has been easy to research, but the Willis side has been very difficult to find out about, it just seems that nobody wanted to speak about them”.

Daisy-Anne Willis in service aged 16Daisy-Anne Willis in service aged 16

Are there any descendants out there to help solve this mystery? Get in touch at luke.may@archant.co.uk or call 01233 653479.

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