South Shields couple strike gold for charity to mark milestone anniversary

John and Maureen Graham thought of others on their golden wedding anniversary.
John and Maureen Graham thought of others on their golden wedding anniversary.

A devoted South Tyneside couple showed they have hearts of gold – after celebrating their milestone moment by boosting a vital charity cause.

Caring John and Maureen Graham marked their 50th wedding anniversary in style by hosting a special bash attended by scores of family and friends.

John and Maureen on their wedding day.

John and Maureen on their wedding day.

But the couple, from Aston Street, South Shields, urged partygoers not to shower them with gifts on their golden day, but instead donate cash to a cancer charity that means so much to them both.

Mr Graham, 72, has twice fought back from thyroid cancer in the last five years – and he says the tireless efforts of the butterfly thyroid cancer trust were key to putting him on the road to recovery.

Generous guests at the wedding anniversary party at Westoe Rugby Club, South Shields, have raised a bumper £600 to give the charity a Christmas boost.

Mr Graham said; “I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer five years and had an operation to remove it.

Any gifts would only end up stuck in a draw when we could use the money to do something useful.

John Graham

“You have to be put in an isolation room and the charity supplies people with books and DVDs to keep them entertained while they are on their own.

“The thyroid cancer came back last year and I was back in the Newcastle Freeman Hospital.

“I am in remission now.

“I just wanted to thank them for everything they have done.

“We had over 100 people at the party and have raised over £600.

“It was a great night and we had one of Maureen’s bridesmaids travel over from Texas and a guest from Abu Dhabi.”

Mrs Graham, 73, added: “You don’t need gifts when you get to our time of our life.

“We wanted to give something back.

“It was a brilliant night.”

John and Maureen first met while working at the Cigarette Components factory in Jarrow – but it was only when they met up for a night out a few months later that sparks began to fly.

The pair got engaged in May 1965 – before tying the knot at St Oswin’s Church, in Stanhope Road, South Shields, on December 11 of that year.

Fifty years on, the golden Graham’s have a life packed with enough happy memories– as well as three children, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild – that they have no desire to be lavished with presents.

They were happy to use a celebration of their life together as a way to help others.

Mr Graham added: “I don’t need anything at this time of life.

“Any gifts would only end up stuck in a drawer when we could use the money to do something useful.”

For more information on the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust, visit www.butterfly.org.uk/