A Goodrich couple, who are getting married today (Saturday, July 15th) have grown their flowers and reared their own meat for their special day.
Reverend Simon Tarlton and Caroline Griffiths have been planning their wedding for 18 months. Simon, who was ordained as a priest on Saturday, July 1st, launched Phocas, a social enterprise project, in November 2016, which gives ex-offenders and people at risk of homelessness horticultural skills, while also producing locally cut flowers.
Phocas is based at the allotments in Lea, and Simon told the Gazette that the project has gone from strength to strength since it began. He said that he and Caroline work with the young people at SHYPP, particularly the Ross-on-Wye Foyer, and one young man, who has expressed an interest in farming, has been working at the allotment to gain work experience and improve his CV.
Simon added that Gloucestershire Police also work with Phocas, and they introduce ex-offenders who are getting back into the community, and they are all responding well to the project.
Today, St Giles’ Church in Goodrich will be filled with Phocas flowers for Simon and Caroline’s wedding. The couple cut the flowers just before the big day, and Caroline said that the mixture of sun and showers had been a godsend.
The couple will be married by Revered Neil Patterson, who introduced the couple to each other. “He’s coming back to finish the job,” Simon commented.
Simon added that it was Rev Patterson who asked him if he felt the call to ministry, and when Simon decided that he did, Rev Patterson mentored him though the training process and has remained a very good friend of the couple ever since.
Simon is currently a curator at St Mary’s Church, working as a part of the Ross benefice. He does this alongside Phocas. Caroline recently retired from training pointers, and she currently does sports and remedial massage therapy, as well as acting as a church warden at St Giles’, working with Phocas, and enjoying soon-to-be-married life.
The couple have also reared their own sheep for their wedding breakfast. Simon commented that he bought eight Torwen ewes on the website, pre-loved.
The ewes all produced one lamb each during spring, and, while they have decided to keep one to sell on for breeding, the other lambs will provide the meat for their wedding feast.
They will have a street party later today in Goodrich after their ceremony.