Words by Louis Stows
GREENFIELD couple John and Patricia Armstrong had to wait 12 months for their honeymoon and then they could only manage a weekend in Blackpool.
But they have more than made up for that belated holiday during the next 59 years of married life.
This month, the devoted pair celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with a family get together at the Royal George.
And with four children, eight grandchildren, and six great grandchildren, it was a big party.
“We couldn’t afford a honeymoon at the start because we had just bought our first house,” recalled John, a former engineer and fitter.
“But over the years we’ve enjoyed plenty of nice holidays including to the States and a cruise round the Caribbean.”
John was 17 and Patricia 16 when they first met at a dance in Denton, Tameside.
It was love at first sight and after two years courting, they tied the knot at St Anne’s RC Church in Ashton on August 2, 1958.
“Time flies,” chuckled Patricia, a one-time Hyde cotton mill worker whose son, Gary runs Armstrong’s Office Furniture on Penny Meadow in Ashton.
So, what is their recipe for longevity in marriage?
“Overlooking things that annoy you,” laughed John. “And having a bit of space.”
“A lot of it is having your own space and doing things that suit you,” added Patricia.
“I used to have a lot of hobbies,” she said. “But with all the children and grandchildren, they take your time up.
“You think ‘I’ll have a rest tonight’ but it never happens.”
But it was time well spent as the family re-united for the anniversary celebrations, daughter Janet Wall organising the party with sister Anne and sons Gary and David flying back from America after watching Manchester United’s pre-season tour.