Second chance for couple to enjoy their special day at tower

WINNERS Janice and Rick Lopez from North End who will renew their vows in The Square Tower. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (131961-1)
WINNERS Janice and Rick Lopez from North End who will renew their vows in The Square Tower. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131961-1)

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When Janice and Rick Lopez got married, they posed for photographs just like countless other happy couples.

It was only later that they discovered to their horror that film in the only camera used was damaged and they had no record of their wedding.

But now Janice and Rick are looking forward to recreating their big day after being picked as the winner of our fantastic Square Tower competition.

In June The News teamed up with Steve Hender, the proprietor of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth, to offer use of the historic building for a day, worth up to £1,200, to one lucky winner.

Used to store gunpowder in the Civil War, the tower has hosted all kinds of events from magic shows to craft fairs and weddings to funerals for the past three years.

The venue is fully licensed to screen films, stage plays, host live music events and serve alcoholic drinks seven days a week.

The News received dozens of entries for the competition and with a wide variety of events suggested, judging was very difficult.

Janice said: ‘It’s brilliant. When I entered I never thought I would actually win it.

‘I’ve always lived in Portsmouth and seen the Square Tower when out walking with my children. It’s such a lovely space.’

Janice, 53, married Rick, 70, 14 years ago. With funds short at the time, their wedding took place at a register office with just two witnesses.

Now the couple, who live in Powerscourt Road, North End are planning to make promise speeches to each other in front of friends and family at the Square Tower, and this time they will make sure they have plenty of photographs taken to remember this second chance at their very special day.

Divided into two halls, the Tudor tower can seat up to 100 people in the lower hall and accommodate a further 80 in the upper hall, which is just as well because Janice and Rick have nine children and 22 grandchildren between them.

Janice is already looking forward to the big day: ‘We want to have our first dance again and cut the cake. It will be a lovely thing for us, our family and our friends.

‘The record of our first wedding is totally ruined, so it will be amazing to get the chance to do it again.’

Steve Hender, proprietor of the Square Tower, said he was delighted to be able to give the Lopez family another opportunity to have their special day.

‘They are a lovely couple,’ said Steve.

‘I am so happy we were able to do something for them.

‘It will be a lovely event. We have done quite a few renewal of vows ceremonies and they have all been very successful.

‘I am really looking forward to the event.’