A GOLDEN South Tyneside couple didn’t just fall in love – they were pushed!
John and Valerie Wilkinson, of Quarry Lane, South Shields, are toasting their 50th wedding anniversary today, but a lifetime of happiness needed a vital helping hand to get started.
Valerie was about to leave Morton’s Dance Hall in South Shields, on New Year’s Eve in 1958 when a work friend shoved her into the path of a stranger, who would become her future husband.
She explains: “He didn’t dance, so we just started talking. I had been about to go to pick up my coat and leave. We started dating, and got engaged when I was 19 and married when I was 21.”
John, 75 and Valerie, 71, tied the knot at St Mark’s and St Cuthbert’s Church in King George Road, South Shields, on March 23, 1963.
The couple are celebrating their milestone marital date with a party at Sutton Trust Hall in the town, the same venue they held their wedding reception 50 years ago.
Golden memories will be flooding back for the delighted duo, in the company of their loving family.
The couple have two sons and a daughter, six granddaughters, one grandson and two great grand-daughters.
John, who worked as a miner for 40 years, and Valerie, who started her working life in the fashion department at Allen’s and Company in Laygate, South Shields, are looking forward to many more cherished memories together.
The secret recipe for their happy marriage is simple – a lasting friendship.
Valerie added: “We just get on very well. We’ve bickered now and again, but we never have proper arguments. It’s a lasting friendship.”