“When she started at school, she’d complain that we would let Chris stay up later than her, so we had to pretend to put him to bed and then bring him downstairs again after she had gone to bed. “When they started growing up they were always fighting. They had the ‘line rule’, which meant that if they were sharing a sofa, your feet couldn’t cross into the other’s section. There was a lot of kicking... and they still slip into being adolescents the moment they are together. “They even had a raging argument over a piece of string on one occasion.” For Tracy – who struggled to let Chris out of her sight when he was young and would peer out of the window when he went to the shop down the road – the prospect of Laura finally leaving the family home in Burton Pidsea was difficult.
Tracy recalls a picture of Stewart after the ceremony, “gazing up at the architecture of the church, distancing himself from the mayhem”. Stewart adds: “I guess it could be summed up as, ‘oh my word, what have I done?’ But no, actually it was a just a little quiet moment for me to gather my thoughts.” After a reception at the Valiant House Hotel in Carr Lane and a honeymoon trip to Windermere on the train, Tracy and Stewart tried to settle into married life. However, like many before and since, it took some time to get used to the new chapter of their lives. Things calmed down though when Laura came into the world on December 2, 1986. “When she was born, I was exhausted,” Tracy says, “and when they asked me whether I wanted to hold the baby, I just said, ‘no I don’t, I want some sleep!’ “I went straight to sleep on a delivery trolley for a few minutes, and when I woke up the first thing I saw was Stewart gazing down at this baby. It is such a strong memory. It is almost like we couldn’t believe that we had managed to produce her.” Even for someone as private as Stewart, he couldn’t resist showing off his baby daughter to a wider audience. “The birth was an intimate moment,” Stewart says, “and I guess all couples go through taking their baby home and then thinking, ‘what do we do now’?”
“I was part of a rummage crew for visiting ships and I brought them along to see the baby when she was a few days old. At least they didn’t drop her...” Tracy adds: “He brought them straight from the pub and they were all covered in oil because of what they did, so they were filthy, they stank and they were all drunk. And they passed my 10-day-old baby round like she was a parcel. I was horrified!” Five years later, Chris was born on July 27. “I remember it was a very different experience,” Tracy says. “It was much quicker and much more painful and they had to go and drag Stewart away from the cricket, as I recall. “They said to him, ‘Mr Padget, if you don’t come now, you’re going to miss the birth. He was watching it on a TV in a lounge opposite the delivery room.” Stewart explains: “It was a Test match against the West Indies. I think that is the only time in my life that I have been close to fainting, because it was a boiling hot day and there were all of the emotions.” However, Tracy believes Stewart nearly fainted because “he turned up with cords on and a long sleeve winter shirt”. Tracy adds: “Laura had finished nursery and was starting school in the September, and she was brilliant with Chris. She had a doll that was the same size as Chris, so she used to copy what I’d do with Chris. I would put a nappy on Chris, and she would put a nappy on her doll.
“She stayed at home for her first year at the University of Hull, but then in the second year she moved into ‘Princess Palace’ with Kirsty and Anna,” Tracy says. “I was distraught about the idea of her going, but before she moved out we went to Sicily for a week and we fell out, and then had a blazing argument when we were packing her things and she was just sitting there filing her nails. So in the end, it wasn’t the emotional parting I had imagined!” Stewart’s protective nature manifested itself in a different way – when Laura met future fiancé Paul. “I played up to a role, quite consciously,” he admits. “I think if someone is going to be interested in my daughter then they should jump through a few hoops. “I just wanted to keep a certain reserve, so he knew that he wasn’t just going to waltz in and walk off with my daughter. “In 2014, when Laura and Paul get married, it will mark a transition point, but in lots of ways we have already said goodbye to her already. They have a house together and are obviously so happy.” Meanwhile Chris has developed an appetite to see the world after having travelled to Australia. “Chris has always had a really good imagination,” Stewart says. “After coming back from Australia, he does appreciate the little things a bit more.” Tracy adds: “I was absolutely gutted when he went to Australia. We encouraged him to go, but I knew how I would feel when he went. “I just stood there, watching the train pull away, with tears running down my face. It took a few days for me to get a grip. There was never a doubt that it was the right thing for him to do, but it was tough. “I think managing his trip to Australia on such a small budget has matured him. Although now he’s come back, he still treats our house like a hotel! Both of the kids are good company and they have a great relationship with each other.”
All Saints Church, Preston
The parish church of All Saints was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, although the original structure disappeared a long time ago. The existing church is a Grade I listed building, but it still retains the piers on the north side of the nave, which are thought to date back to Norman times. It is likely that the church was widened early in the 13th century, with the pillars and arches on the south side taken down and re-erected further south. The chancel was rebuilt in 1870 and the rest of the church was thoroughly restored in 1882 at a cost of £2,000. During the restoration process, numerous beautifully-carved – but deliberately broken – pieces of alabaster were found, probably destroyed by iconoclastic reformers. There are two treble bells, dating from 1660, and a tenor bell, which dates back from 1690. These bells have not been in use since 1983, the year of Tracy and Stewart’s wedding.
Background and historical information about the main venue, researched by our writers (example style: Elegant)