Chilton couple, George, and Joyce College have been flooded with cards and gifts to mark the occasion of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary today (4th March).
And while the Mayor is unable to make her traditional visit to congratulate the couple, the Town Council have sent a bouquet to acknowledge their special day.
Friday 4th March 1961 must have been a particularly celebratory day in Chilton as it also marked the wedding of Olive and Derek Reay, who are also celebrating the same anniversary today.
George, 81 and Joyce, 78, met at the Durham Ox pub in Coundon as young adults and have enjoyed sixty years together since.
After being married in the registry office in Bishop Auckland, they honeymooned in London and fondly remember sunbathing in Hyde Park. They moved in together at Close House where they stayed for two year, before moving to Chilton. They have lived in the village ever since.
Joyce was born in Halifax but at four years old her family moved to Close House, where she attended school. After leaving, she worked at Paton & Baldwin wool factory in Darlington but left to start a family after getting married.
George was born in Windlestone on The Old Row, which has since been knocked down.
Very much a local man, George went to Chilton Infant School and later worked at Chilton Colliery and Middridge Drift.
After the pits closed in Durham, he worked in Stoke for a short time while Joyce looked after their home. George later worked locally for Wm Press, pipelaying for around 20 years. He finished his working life in the office at Dean & Chapter coal yard for Kenton Utilities and has been happily retired for the past twenty years.
The couple love holidaying together and have a particular fondness for the Greek islands. When they discovered Rhodes they were hooked and returned there for almost 30 years, becoming such a familiar part of the community that they were awarded honorary citizenship by the local mayor. They have some amazing memories and have made good friends from all over the world with whom they keep in regular contact.
The couple have two children, Graham and Gayle, five grandchildren, five great grandchildren and another great grandchild on the way.
At the moment, due to health issues, Joyce is currently in a nursing home, which is hard for both George and Joyce and all of the family, particularly as the pandemic has made it even harder to visit.
This last year is the only time George and Joyce have been apart since they met. The family and Joyce’s nursing home have arranged gifts and treats for their special day and will be helping them celebrate as best they can.