North East Wales

Punch and Judy 'get married' in Rhos-on-Sea

Punch and Judy show
Image caption Punch and Judy 'tied the knot' after decades together

They have argued and fought before millions of people for generations.

But Punch and Judy have finally shown their softer sides... by getting married.

The 'ceremony' was held in the Chapel of St Trillo, Rhos-on-Sea, Conwy, using oak puppets that entertained crowds on Llandudno's prom 150 years ago.

And the pair had to behave - there was barely be room for an argument in what is reputed to be Britain's smallest church, holding six people.

Image caption The puppets 'exchange vows' in the ceremony

The event, on Thursday, marks 150 years of Punch and Judy shows being performed on Llandudno pier.

In 1860, Richard Codman launched the shows to crowds of delighted tourists.

Four generations on, the show is performed by his great great grandson Jason, using the original puppets carved from oak driftwood 150 years ago.

Among those to have watched the shows over the years are Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII and the Prince of Wales.

According to Jim Jones of Visit Llandudno - which is staging the event - the town's Punch and Judy show is the original and best.

He said: "It's absolutely fantastic that Llandudno has the oldest Punch and Judy in Wales and indeed the whole of Britain.

"We wanted to celebrate this by finally getting them married.

"After all it's only fair that poor Judy finally gets her big day after all these years.

"The Codman family have been present in Llandudno for such a long time and this will be a fantastic day for them as well."

Jackie Millband-Codman, great-granddaughter of Richard Codman, said: "This is brilliant. We love the idea of Judy finally getting her own back on Punch and getting him down the aisle.

"As a family we've lived in Llandudno for over 150 years and we worked out that we'd put on around 94,000 shows over the years to nearly three million people."

Judy's dress has been designed by a Rhyl-based wedding store and a local florist will supply the flowers.

In recent decades Punch and Judy's popularity has waned, as British seaside towns struggled to compete with holidaymakers tempted by cheap deals abroad.

The shows were also labelled violent, with the puppets famed for punching and fighting each other.

However, some puppeteers, known as "professors",claim the shows are enjoying a resurgence with the "political correctness era fading".

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