Happy South Shields couple share secret of a long and happy marriage as they mark 50 years together

Love at first sight – and a whirlwind romance – have led to 50 years of wedding bliss for a devoted South Tyneside couple.

By Gareth Crickmer
Friday, 02 August, 2019, 11:45
James and Linda Pennock celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Jimmy and Linda Pennock say they knew their stars were aligned when they met in a South Shields pub in early 1969.

The pair, of Falstone Avenue, South Shields, who are now great-grandparents, dated for just six months before they tied the knot at the town’s registry office.

Later today they will be joined by family and friends for a party at the Sea Hotel to mark their Golden Wedding anniversary.

James and Linda Pennock celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Retired baker Jimmy, 72, said: “I was just 21 and Linda 19 when we met in the old Neptune Hotel in Commercial Road. We both knew it was love at first sight.

“Celebrating your golden wedding anniversary is a once in a lifetime event, it’s not a milestone that too many people reach.

“We really wanted to celebrate this occasion with the people we love the most, our family and friends. Most of all, I wanted to celebrate it with my wife.”

Former machinist Linda, 70, added: “The secret to our long marriage has been mutual respect, love, togetherness and honesty, and always being there for each other through the highs and lows of life.

James and Linda Pennock celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

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“I’m thankful for having such lovely friends and beautiful family that we can all spend together.

“Opportunities to do so are rare these days. I just hope everyone has a good time and enjoys themselves.”

The couple set up home in Aldborough Street, Simonside, raising daughters Joyce and Sharon.

At the time, Jimmy worked as a baker at Crawfords, in Newcastle Road, and Linda as a machinist at the John Collier clothing company, on Western Approach, both South Shields.

Five grandchildren followed – Cassie, Danny, Abby, Marc and Grant – and they are now great-grandparents to Lana, Naomi and Jacob.

Despite being retired, they put their time to good use by organising events for residents of Falstone Avenue, a 57 home housing scheme for older people, where they live.

Abby’s partner, wood machinist David Harwood, 37, said: “Jimmy and Linda do so much off their own backs for other people, sometimes using their own money.

“It’s wonderful that they celebrating this fantastic anniversary with so many family and friends.”

Around 60 guests, including Jimmy’s younger brother Alan, who travelled from his home in Northern Ireland, celebrated by enjoying a three-course meal.