Registrar who said no to Mickey Mouse to retire

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Registrar Sue Lewis has presided over thousands of ceremonies but some stick in the memory more than most.

Sue, who is retiring after 34 years, said no to a groom who turned up at the register office hoping to be married dressed in a full Disney character outfit.

“I admired his originality but had to remind him about the solemnity of the occasion and that Mickey Mouse didn’t quite comply with that requirement,” said Sue, who is based in Bilton House in Harrogate.

“Apart from all else, imagine how shocking it would have been to have upstaged the bride.”

For the past eight years Sue has been in charge of the North Yorkshire registration service and is retiring after conducting her final ceremony when she married Alison Towers and Steven Burns at the Sun Pavilion, in Valley Gardens, Harrogate.

On the last day of the month she will officially bring to a close a career as a civil registration officer spanning 34 years.

Born in Newland, near Drax, Sue attended Selby Girls’ High School, leaving in 1968 to work in the rating department at the former Derwent Rural District Council in Fulford for four years.

Sue returned to the public service in 1982 as a part time Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages at Selby Register Office and was promoted to Superintendent Registrar of Selby in 1987, leaving five years later to occupy the same post at Scarborough.

In 1998, in a dramatic departure from tradition, the whole of the North Yorkshire council area was fashioned into a single registration district, by far the largest geographically in England, and Sue became senior registrar and area manager for the eastern division.

In 2008, she was appointed head of the service as Superintendent Registrar with full responsibility for day-to-day operational management, and with 90 staff who work at several locations in the county.

Sue, paid tribute to her ‘wonderful’ colleagues and reflected on her good fortune in having been able to enjoy ‘the best career imaginable’.

“It has been a great privilege to have been so closely involved with people at such important and momentous times in their lives,” she said.

Sue, of Hemmingbrough, aims to spend more time cooking and gardening.