Westoe Travel owners celebrate 40th wedding anniversary as they look back on decades travelling the world together
A South Shields couple who have spent their lives travelling the world together – and helping those in the town to do the same – are marking their 40th wedding anniversary on American Independence Day, if not quite in the way they had hoped.
And it will be a double celebration for Graeme, 62, and Joan 60, who have run the popular travel agent on Westoe Road, South Shields, since January 1989.
The pair will also be marking 16 years since moving into their current premises from the newsagents they bought on the same road.
Graeme said: “I chose July 4, American Independence Day, as our wedding day so I wouldn't forget the anniversary!
“We both love to travel and explore new places, but our favourites destinations are Canada, Alaska and Florida
"Looking for bears and other wildlife in a remote part of the West Coast of Canada or Alaska is our perfect holiday and is our first preference for a holiday every year.”
So much so that Graeme has been to Canada 27 times, while Joan has visited 30 times in her role as Elite Canada Specialist with Destination Canada.
Graeme, who is Premier Australian Specialist, has also visited Australia an incredible 25 times and the pair have enjoyed trips to New Zealand, Peru, The Galapagos, Vietnam and Kenya over the years.
A trip to America had been planned to mark their wedding anniversary, but with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic curtailing plans, Graeme and Joan will instead mark the occasion with a weekend in Yorkshire.
Joan said: “Everyone always tries to guess how we met and no one ever guesses right – we met at our local church when Graeme ran the youth club.
“We always say take every opportunity we can to travel as you never know when we will be prevented from travelling.
“This has proved so right in the last 18 months and we are both desperate to travel again."
Westoe Travel initially started out as the departure point for the Blueline Intercity coach service to London, with four departures a day.