Gallery: Finborough School students organise ‘pre wedding’ ceremony for popular teachers Freddie Walton and Susie Phillips

Love is in the air
The pre wedding ceremony of boarding house staff Freddie Walton and Susie Philli

Love is in the air The pre wedding ceremony of boarding house staff Freddie Walton and Susie Phillips at St Andrew's Church, Great Finborough on Saturday. The Finborough School teachers are toi be married in Scotland so pupils planned a special ceremony as they couldn't attend - Credit: Archant

WHEN teachers Freddie Walton and Susie Phillips announced their engagement there was much rejoicing among the 70 children who board at their school.

So there was a lot of disappointment when the students discovered the popular couple would be tying the knot in Scotland and they would be unable to attend.

But the pupils of Finborough School, near Stowmarket, were not to be denied - and plans were drawn up for a “pre wedding” celebration.

The boarding house band began to practise for their set at the reception, the school dining hall was booked and the catering staff offered to organise the buffet and cake.

After weeks of preparation the special celebration was held at St Andrew’s Church in Finborough on Saturday.

The youngsters arrived in all their finery and watched as Mr Walton, 26, and Miss Phillips, 27, walked down the aisle in a pre-cursor to their big day, which will take place in Perthshire in July.

However there were a few subtle differences to the summer ceremony. Rather than actually marrying the couple the vicar talked about the sanctity of marriage while the rings came from sweet manufacturer Haribo rather than an expensive jeweller. The bride - at her request - was also given away by Elvis Presley.

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Mr Walton has been boarding master and sports coach at Finborough since March 2010, while his wife-to-be joined as a prep school teacher and a member of the boarding staff in September of the following year.

The couple got engaged last summer and have been together since October 2011.

Mr Walton said: “As soon as the students found out we were engaged they were desperate to come. However, obviously, that wasn’t possible and we decided we would have a ‘pre wedding’ at Finborough Church.”

He said there was no particular reason for the Elvis connection and praised the efforts of students and staff.

“It was absolutely brilliant,” he said. “The dining hall looked amazing and it was a lot of fun. Everyone had a great time.

“A lot of effort went into it and we can’t thank everyone enough. There was a real family ethos, which was wonderful.”