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Ultimate wedding album gift

PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:28 03 March 2010

IT was the day Mark and Jane Grayling would have a song of love in their hearts – thanks to the unique surprise wedding gift from their best man.

For Richard Churchyard had kept a secret from the couple, his dearest and most-loved friends, for a whole year .

IT was the day Mark and Jane Grayling would have a song of love in their hearts – thanks to the unique surprise wedding gift from their best man.

For Richard Churchyard had kept a secret from the couple, his dearest and most-loved friends, for a whole year . . . that he was recording an album of music dedicated to their love and marriage.

Guitarist Richard presented the couple with his new CD Angels Promise, encased in a wooden box and bound with a clasp, as he stood up to make his best man speech.

Each track on the concept album, designed to symbolise the coming together of two people, reflected and explored the journey of their relationship, through all the thoughts, feelings and emotions along the way to the wedding day itself.

"I wanted to give them a really unusual gift and a most sincere one, too," said Richard, who lives at Kirton.

"They asked me to be best man and I thought I must give them a really special gift – and then I had the idea of doing an album based around their marriage.

"But I wanted it to be a complete surprise, so I had to record it in secret. It took a year to write, record and produce and I just made it before the wedding.

"The hardest part was that Mark knew I was recording a new album, but I couldn't let him hear it. I had to hide any trace of my work when he visited.

"He kept asking me how it was going, and I would have to say, 'Oh, all right' and 'No, you know what artists are like, you can't hear it until it's finished'."

Some pieces from the album were played during the wedding ceremony but Mark – an old schoolfriend of Richard's – and Jane, who live in Thetford and married in Spalding, still didn't know about the CD until it was presented to them at the reception.

They said they were "totally overwhelmed" by the gift – it was completely unexpected and a fantastic honour, and something they will always treasure.

Richard, 27, is also thrilled with the album though he said it was emotionally draining to write and record.

"It was real trauma – I was a wreck. I went through all the emotions of a relationship. If the piece was about solitude, then I was in solitude. I lived the journey to the wedding and I know I have put myself into it and it was a great struggle at times," said Richard.

"I have never spent so long on anything in my life. I am ecstatic with the CD."

It is the second solo album Richard, who teaches guitar at the Essex Music Centre in Braintree, has recorded. His first, The Unthanked Road, has sold out, and is used by natural healing experts, and for meditation and relaxation.

He will be performing Angels Promise live at 12 gigs across the country over the next few months, including the Natural Healing Exhibition at Felixstowe Leisure Centre on September 23, and a similar event at Colchester Leisure World on September 29-30, plus dates in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Southend.

The CD is available from Sacred Earth, Ipswich; Holland and Barrett, Felixstowe; and Ajna in Woodbridge. He can be contacted on 01394 448620 or via his website.

WEBLINK: www.listen.to/richardchurchyard


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