A couple who remember their experience as the winners of the Evening Despatch's Spring Bride and Groom competition married exactly 25 years ago today. Women's Editor Christen Pears reports.

TWENTY-five years ago, Linda and Macolm Reese won the Evening Despatch's Spring Bride and Groom competition. They were told by the reporter at the time to return to the paper if they made it to 25 years but, as the Evening Despatch no longer exists, they came to sister paper The Northern Echo instead.

As far as Linda remembers, the couple were nominated for the competition by a colleague and had to go along to the Despatch's offices, along with other shortlisted couples.

"It's all a bit hazy and I can't even remember what it was we had to do to win - but we did and we spent a day going round Darlington doing all the things a couple would do to prepare for their wedding. It was a lot of fun," recalls Linda.

Accompanied by a reporter and photographer, they visited a host of different shops: Hoppers jewellers to choose a wedding ring, Kay Windsor for a wedding dress and T Pease for champagne.

Linda also had a makeover at Clinic 36 in Duke Street and My Fair Lady in High Row. They also received a cheque for £50.

"It was a lot of money in those days and we put it towards our first carpet," says Linda.

The photographs appeared in the Evening Despatch's Spring Brides supplement and the couple were presented with an album of photographs recording their day.

They were married on May 20, 1978, at St John's Church in Darlington. They moved into their first house in Thirlmere Drive and now live in Branking Drive. Malcolm works at Cummins and Linda is a part-time worker at Asda. They have two sons, James, seven, and Jonathan, four.

How the cost of weddings has changed

1978 2003 price price

Engagement ring £73 £1,021

Wedding dress £110 £275

Bridesmaid's dresses £35 £367

Wedding reception £360 £1,169

Flowers £27 £276

Photographer £45 £628

(1978 figures from Wedding Day magazine; 2003 figures from handbag.com)