A SOUTH Shields couple celebrate their golden wedding today – thanks to a flutter more than 50 years ago.
It was back at Morton’s dance hall in King Street, South Shields – located above the present-day Burton’s store – that Alan and Anne Bird first laid eyes on each other.
But the road to romance didn’t run smoothly.
Fleet-footed Alan, then 19, took to the dance floor, only to realise that 16-year-old Anne had already left for the evening.
Undeterred, on the bus home he bet her sister, the late Peggy, 10p (two shillings in old money) that he would take her out.
And he won the bet the very next week, when love began to blossom at the same dance hall.
Retired Westoe Colliery miner Mr Bird, 75, of North Avenue, Harton Lea, South Shields, said: “Her sister told me that she wouldn’t go out with any lad, but I was determined. I won – but never did collect on that bet.”
The couple, who lived most of their married life in Lumley Avenue, Marsden, South Shields, went on to have three children – Kevin, Karen and Linda – and now have seven great-grandchildren.
Mrs Bird, 72, worked in the retail trade for much of her life, including spells at Clarks in Frederick Street and the town’s former Binns store.
The couple, who married at St Peter’s Church in Sunderland Road, South Shields, 50 years ago today, still trip the light fantastic, taking part in not-too-strenuous sequence dance sessions at the Viv Needham School of Dance.
Mr Bird said: “You have got to work at your marriage. You can’t go to bed with an argument unresolved.”