A whirlwind romance which went from writing love letters to being married within six months has stood the test of time.
For Joyce and Brian Statham, it has been 60 years since they said their ‘I dos’ in 1958.
Romance blossomed for the couple when Brian was deployed to Cyprus with the Army. There he shared a bunk with Joyce’s brother who asked him if he had anyone to write to at home.
When hearing he hadn’t, he suggested he penned a letter to Joyce who was 18 at the time. “And the rest is history,” joked Joyce, now 78.
Joyce, originally from Bolton, said: “He took my dad to the pub and got him drunk so he could ask him if he could marry me. My father said if we waited a year he would help us have a big do but we didn’t need a big celebration.”
Brian, 81, proposed on the doorstep of his sister’s house before a visit. Joyce said: “Even though we knew we were right for each other I was still surprised.”
The couple were married in Joyce’s home town church during a thunder and hail storm and had to wait for it to pass to say their vows.
Joyce and Brian, who have four children as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren, live in Hayfield and had a small party to mark the milestone and a letter from The Queen congratulating them.
Joyce said: “In a marriage you have to grin and bear it through the difficult bits and know you are strong enough to come out the other side.”