South Shields couple’s friendship turned into love which has lasted 60 years

Pat and Jim Stidolph toast their diamond wedding anniversary.
Pat and Jim Stidolph toast their diamond wedding anniversary.

A couple who turned a friendship into love are celebrating 60 years of marriage today.

Diamond Anniversary couple Jim and Pat Stidolph first met as youngsters when they were in the Boys Brigade and Girl Guides respectively.

Jim and Pat on their wedding day.

Jim and Pat on their wedding day.

But it wasn’t until they became members of a youth club in Wenlock Road, in Simonside, that their friendship grew – eventually turning into love.

The couple were married at St Simon’s Church, in Simonside, on Boxing Day 1955.

Mr Stidolph, 81, a retired joiner said: “I still remember our wedding day like it was yesterday.

“The vicar, a Mr Troy who was a lovely man, wanted to marry us on Christmas Day but we said no, so he said he could marry us on Boxing Day instead.

We are still good friends now and hope to be for many more years to come.

Jim Stidolph

“It was my birthday on the 21st and, with Christmas to organise too, it was hard, but we managed it and we all had a lovely time.

“We were such good friends and it developed from there. We are still good friends now and hope to be for many more years to come.”

The couple, from Canberra Drive, Brockley Whins, South Shields, have two children, Ann, 58, and David, 56.

Mrs Stidolph, 79, a retired shopworker, said: “Jim is a very caring person and is very good company and we always got on so well together.

Friendship turned to love for Jim and Pat.

Friendship turned to love for Jim and Pat.

“We have had a good life and we have such a loving and caring family.

“It is all about give and take and that’s what makes a marriage.

“Like everyone, we do have our arguments but we talk through them.”

The couple, who received a congratulations card from the Queen, have four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

They were spending today celebrating their anniversary with a meal with family.