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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Son and ex mum-in-law hope to wed
By Claire Heald
BBC News

Brenda at her home (Photo: Cavendish Press)
Brenda at her home in Warrington
A man and his former mother-in-law have told how they hope to marry after the UK's ban on such unions was challenged in a European court.

Clive Blunden, 50, from Warrington, Cheshire, said it would be "fantastic" if he could wed Brenda, 62, his ex-wife's mother.

The European Court of Human Rights earlier this month ruled the ban on marriage between people who were in-laws was a breach of human rights.

The decision came in a case brought by a man and his daughter-in-law.

Coincidentally, that couple were also from Warrington.

'Any normal relationship'

The UK's Department for Constitutional Affairs is considering the implications of the Strasbourg judgement for British legislation.

Clive and Brenda said they had yet to take lawyers' advice on the situation, but the retired couple said they were keen to marry after 17 years together - 15 of them engaged.

At first it was difficult, but only for a short time
Clive Blunden

They began dating four years after Clive split from his wife, Brenda's daughter.

He has two daughters from that marriage, aged 22 and 27, and five grandchildren.

Describing how he and Brenda got together in 1988, Clive told the BBC News website: "I used to come and see the children at the house.

"We got talking, went for a drink, a meal, like any normal relationship.

"At the time it was just like any other relationship, I had been on my own for four years."

He admitted it was "a shock" for the family at first, but said they have "built the bridges over 17 years".

It was always done with the greatest of care, there was nothing sleazy about it
Clive Blunden

In fact, said Brenda, her ex-husband even encouraged them.

"He told me to carry on, it was nothing to do with my daughter as she had re-married," she said.

Clive admitted his children felt "pushed aside" at first, but they would have felt that anyway with any new partner.

"It was always done with the greatest of care, there was nothing sleazy about it," he said.

"Yes at first it was difficult, but only for a short time. It's our life, it's turned out fantastic."

As to whether the family would support the couple marrying, Clive said they had not discussed it but he was sure they would want them to be happy.

'Waited long enough'

The couple registered an intention to marry 12 years ago. Clive said he was later arrested and held in a police cell for seven hours.

He said it was partly the shock of that experience which made him determined to try again in light of the new judgement.

"I want the choice," Clive said. "I want to get married in my own town and not go somewhere else, I think I deserve it."

The couple have told few friends of their original connection. But they privately celebrate their "engagement" every Christmas. And they have "100 per cent support from our friends" and "a very close family".

Brenda, also a divorcee, changed her surname to her partner's in 1993 by deed poll.

They hope for a wedding at Warrington Register Office, "a do" after, followed by a honeymoon in Blackpool "because when we first met, we used to go there".

"It would be fantastic," Clive said. "I just can't describe it, we've waited long enough."

In-laws can marry, judges decide
13 Sep 05 |  Manchester

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