FORGET chocolate and flowers, a Knutsford church celebrated the lead-up to Valentine’s Day by renewing wedding vows.

Reverend Jean Bradley, minister of Brook Street Chapel, helped couples rekindle their romance at a special service on Sunday.

She said: “A lot of people have had long and happy marriages, and that should be celebrated as often as possible.

“These couples may not be movie stars or famous people, but they have given a lot of stability to their children and grandchildren.”

Rev Bradley moved along the congregation and asked couples to renew their promises to each other before treating them to a packet of Love Hearts.

Rev Bradley renewed her vows to her husband and former Brook Street Chapel minister Alex at the service.

She added: “It was a service with humour, as we all know we need a sense of humour to be married. We also talked about the joy of commitment and being together. Valentine’s doesn’t have to be about boxes of chocolates and hearts.”

Valentine’s Day may have become commercialised over the years, but it is believed to have originated from the Roman Empire. In 269AD, Valentine, a priest in Rome, was martyred when the church was enduring great persecution.

Rev Bradley, who will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with Alex in North Wales, said: “In the Roman Empire soldiers were not allowed to marry because the generals wanted them to concentrate on fighting and not on romantic thoughts.

“Valentine the priest thought it was wrong and so secretly married couples.”