HOLLYWOOD icon Raquel Welch, who has died, aged 82, made a brief but memorable visit to Bolton Abbey for the marriage blessing of her son and the daughter of cricket legend Freddie Trueman.

A 'media circus', including more than 50 photographers, together with a crowd of around 500 people waited patiently outside Bolton Priory Church on June 5 1991 to see the arrival of Damon Welch and Rebecca Trueman, along with celebrities from the worlds of television and cricket, reported Craven Herald cub reporter, Lindsay Eastwood. 

The couple had married the year before and had come to Bolton Abbey, close to the Trueman's home in Flasby, for what was supposed to be a 'quiet religious ceremony' at the parish church of St Mary and St Cuthbert, but with the mother of the groom the star of such films as One Million Years B.C. and The Three Musketeers, it was bound to be anything but a quiet affair. The couple was to part a year later.

Raquel Welch arrived late and last behind the bride and groom, family and friends including actor Diane Keene, television's Carol Vorderman and several cricket stars, announcing to the assembled crowd, who had begun to wonder whether she had 'sneaked in round the side': "I'm afraid we're terribly late."

Accompanied by designer Robert Moore, Raquel, who was staying at the Devonshire Arms Hotel, arrived in a white Mercedes car and wearing a figure hugging black dress, reported the Herald.

"It was short, tight and revealing and the woman in it knew it would thrill," said the Herald reporter, adding:"It was true, there were no wrinkles. It wasn't down to make up. Everything was smooth."

Once everyone was inside the church, reporters pooled notes, and spectators pooled opinions, said the Herald.

"Some said the dress was not suitable for a wedding. Some said she looked superb for a 50-year old. Some said they had come to see the Truemans, not Raquel, and they were angry at her rudeness."

Some in the crowd expressed their disapproval of the star's 'dramatic' entrance, commenting that she had 'tried to take all the limelight' and how it had been a 'bit funny how she had turned up late, and after the bride', but others, said the Herald just 'drooled or looked envious'.

A Joan Robertson of Carleton said she looked `absolutely gorgeous' and reacted well to the photographers; even today, someone at the ceremony that day remembers her as looking 'absolutely amazing'.

For Carol Richardson of Sutton it was very much a day to remember. Mrs Richardson was celebrating her 84th birthday and on their way to the Devonshire Arms Hotel for the reception, the bride, Rebecca leaned out of the car, shook her hand and wished her a happy birthday. And, Raquel, her idol, gave her a special wave.