‘Great team’ South Shields couple celebrate diamond wedding - 60 years after meeting aboard cargo ship in Sunderland

Ian and Joan Henderson celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.
Ian and Joan Henderson celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

A couple who met on a ship sixty-one years ago are celebrating six decades of happiness together on their diamond wedding anniversary today.

Ian and Joan Henderson, of Commercial Road, South Shields, are marking the big day surrounded by their family, who describe the pair as a ‘great team.’

Ian and Joan Henderson on their wedding day

Ian and Joan Henderson on their wedding day

Joan was just 20 when she met her husband John - known as Ian - who was then 24, aboard a Merchant Navy cargo ship docked in Sunderland where he worked as a second steward, in February 1957.

The couple were introduced when Joan went to visit her cousin, Norman Ahmed, who worked with John on the ship.

Originally from Dundee, Ian moved to South Shields to be with Joan and the pair married just 18 months later on August 2, 1958.

They went on to have two children, Gillian Henderson, 53, and Ian Henderson, 58.

Ian, 84, and Joan, 81, have four grand children; James Anderson, 28, Kate Anderson, 25, Jack Henderson, 27, Callum Henderson, 19.

They also have two great-grandchildren - Isaac Anderson, two, and Elijah Anderson, one.

Joan said: “He is lovely.”

Ian made the decision to leave the maritime business after one trip saw him leave his son - then aged six months - and return when he was two and a half.

He took up a job as a postman, eventually becoming the manager of the South Shields Post Office.

He worked their for nearly 30 years before retiring, while Joan worked at Plessy’s Factory in South Shields and later in various retail jobs while she raised her family.

Ian said: “I am very lucky to have met Joan. We have had ups and downs like any marriage but we have been very happy together and I have never looked back.”

Daughter Gillian said: “They are both incredible parents. I couldn’t have asked for better and we have been very fortunate that our children have grandparents.

“My dad is a true gentleman and he adores my mother. They get on really well and are a great team.

“My dad always made us feel safe and secure and he has been very supportive.”