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Manchester memories: David’s surprise visit 60 years after wedding reception

For 85-year-old David Cotton, what he thought would be a quiet day at home turned out to be one to remember when his friends and support workers at Belong Morris Feinmann surprised him with a special trip to one of Manchester’s most famous hotels, returning for the first time in over 60 years, having celebrated his wedding there.

Arriving at the city’s Midland Hotel, guest of honour David was welcomed for a sparkling afternoon tea, joined by fellow residents who also made the trip from their care village home in Didsbury. Tucking into dainty sandwiches, fluffy cakes and scrumptious scones, the group were entertained with a vocal performance and a goody bag, courtesy of the tearoom manager, later followed by the sharing of happy memories of marriages, the Midland, and Manchester.

Providing more background and speaking of his experience, David said: “I’d mentioned a few details about the big day from all those years ago, and I’d thought nothing of it, but before I knew it, I was standing in the hotel reception with all these recollections of the past flooding back – I’ve not been back since the wedding reception.”

Growing up in north-west London, it was at a synagogue youth activity where he first met future wife, Mary, a Viennese refugee who had settled in Manchester. After their respective congregations had come together for a shared summer camp, it was fate that would facilitate the rekindling of their relationship years later, with David’s employment as an ice machine salesman sending him north.

With the young couple reunited, they began courting, meeting weekly at the Manchester Reform Synagogue on Jackson’s Row before later tying the knot there, followed by the reception at the Midland.

Married life was enjoyed in Chorlton with David continuing his sales job, whilst Mary set-up a renowned private catering business with high profile clients, including the Bank of England. Over the years, the happy couple were blessed with daughters, Caroline, Sarah, and Emma.

In later life, the pair moved to Belong Morris Feinmann care village, a not-for-profit dementia specialist, allowing the continuation of their Jewish way of life whilst being supported to live independently. Mary died peacefully in December 2022.

David continued: “It’s so typical of Angela to take a fleeting comment and turn it into something so momentous and personalised. It was all very nostalgic. We shared our stories of the venue from over the years and I could recall the band, the dancing, the food. I can’t say the ballroom has changed! It was a wonderful afternoon.”

The occasion’s organiser, Angela Luckett, religious and cultural experience coordinator at Belong Morris Feinmann, commented: “A big part of our role is helping our customers have the best experiences, recall special moments in their life, and create new memories for them, so when David told me of his life story, I was pleased to put a plan into action. We’re grateful for the kindness of the Midland Hotel team for making the day so wonderful for us all, and especially for David.”

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