Diamond duo: Volunteers at Mirfield retirement flats celebrate 60th wedding anniversary
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John and Irene Murgatroyd, from Gildersome, married 60 years ago on September 28, 1963, at St Mary’s Church in Hawksworth, and celebrated the special date with a gathering for family and close friends at Drighlington Golf Club last Friday (September 29).
The couple met while working at Jonas Woodhead and Sons Ltd, a spring manufacturer in Leeds, before meeting socially at a Valentine’s Day dance at the city’s Capitol Ballroom, after which John kindly walked his future wife to the bus stop.
“I thought that was lovely,” Irene, now 81, said. “We then went out on a few dates and it progressed from there. Four years later, we got engaged on my 21st birthday and, six months after that, we got married.
“We had a reception in the church hall and, afterwards, we went straight on our honeymoon, leaving the guests to enjoy themselves.”
The couple - who have two sons, Andrew and Phillip, and a daughter-in-law, Jennifer - are members of the Christadelphian Church and are regular, active volunteers at West Royd House, on Water Royd Lane in Mirfield, which is an independent living scheme for people within the church community.
“I worked there as deputy manager for nine years from 1995,” said Irene. “And now we both still volunteer most Mondays, gardening, flower arranging, helping out around the house, as well as going to their coffee morning.
“Our faith is very important. It’s the most important thing to get you through difficult times, which we have had over the last few years.”
John, 83, who enjoyed two careers in design engineering and further education, said of the celebration at Drighlington Golf Club, which helped raise £300 for the MS Society, the British Heart Foundation and Yorkshire Cancer Research:
“We didn’t want any presents and asked for donations for the three charities and we were able to give £100 to each. It was really nice to get all of our close family and friends together for a special night.”
Asked what the secret was to a long and happy marriage, Irene replied: “You have got to do more give than take. There is no recipe for it. I think it’s simply about
being content, that’s the secret.”
The couple also received a card from King Charles III and Queen Camilla, which reads: “My wife and I were so pleased to hear that you were celebrating your diamond wedding anniversary on September 28, 2023.
“This brings you our warmest congratulations and heartfelt good wishes on this happy occasion, Charles and Camilla.”