Bury St Edmunds couple find love again through Theatre Royal volunteering
A couple who found companionship while volunteering at the Theatre Royal following the deaths of their spouses have married in a moving ceremony at the venue.
Paul and Sue Cooper, of Bury St Edmunds, took to the stage to tie the knot on Sunday, February 9 surrounded by an audience of 125 family and friends.
On a sunny and sandy Greece themed Shirley Valentine set, the ceremony began with a minute’s silence in memory of their spouses Linda and Paul who passed away within months of each other in early 2015.
“They both gave us such strong love which enabled us to go out and not be afraid to find love again without actively seeking it,” the newly-weds said.
The pair found solace in volunteering and joined the theatre as house stewards in 2016.
“We just got chatting and became friends,” Paul, 67, said. “I told her about some friends in Ipswich who had a great companionship relationship and that’s what we were after – just companionship.”
Sue, 62, said: “I used to call Paul my cinema buddy because that’s how it started.”
Paul, who retired from Suffolk Police after 30 years in 2003, proposed on July 12, 2019, while shopping with Sue, a former primary school teacher, to buy her an eternity ring.
They also volunteer at West Suffolk Hospital and with the home library service.
To celebrate the Theatre Royal’s 200th anniversary last year, they visited all 20 Theatre Royals across the country.
Instead of wedding presents they asked for donations and raised £940 for the theatre, British Heart Foundation and St Nicholas Hospice Care.
On finding companionship again through volunteering, Sue said: “It’s never too late and you don’t know what’s round the corner.
“You can’t afford to give up and sit in the house. You’ve got to go out there and live and if you can help at the same time, that’s brilliant.”
More by this authorPaul Derrick