A COUPLE who forged a firm bond while working at a steel factory have celebrated 60 years of marriage.
Joan (81) and Dennis Walsh (82), of Spring Vale Close, Wickersley, first laid eyes on each other at Rotherham Boys’ Club in 1954.
Joan, who was 16 at the time, and Dennis, who was 17, did not realise they were colleagues at steelmaker Steel, Peech and Tozer until they bumped into each other at Clifton Park a few weeks later and got chatting.
“Then we realised we worked together and we arranged to start walking home together,” said Joan.
Joan was working as a clerk and her husband was a delivery driver.
Dennis was called up for National Service in 1955 and served in the Royal Signals until 1957.
He then returned to Rotherham and got engaged to Joan.
They tied the knot in a ceremony on April 4, 1959, at St Stephen’s Church in St Ann’s, which was followed by a reception at the church hall.
Joan and Dennis spent a week in London, during which time they saw The Mousetrap \!a which is still running on the West End \!a- and watched a BBC TV show being recorded.
They lived in Brinsworth for five years and then moved to a house in Wickersley, where they have lived ever since.
The couple have two children \_ Lisa Kemp (51), of Wickersley, and Darren Walsh (48), of Braithwell \_ and two grandchildren \_ Alex (16) and Scarlett (13).
Joan continued to work as an administration assistant and Dennis as a crane driver for British Steel until they retired in the late 1990s.
Joan said the couple were both members of the U3A (University of the Third Age) and Rotherham Ramblers.
She said they both enjoyed walking and until recently would regularly go on 12-mile hikes with the ramblers.
Foreign travel has been another feature of their marriage, with caravan trips across the UK and abroad, as well as enjoying holidays to China, Russia, Egypt and New Zealand.
Joan and Dennis celebrated their diamond wedding with a cruise on the QEII.
The Walshes were visited at home by the Mayor and Mayoress of Rotherham, Cllr Alan Buckley and Mrs Sandra Buckley, who presented them with two champagne flutes, and received a congratulatory card from the Queen, which was arranged by their children.
Asked about the secret to a long marriage, Joan said: “Trust is important.
“Love obviously comes into it but you have got to trust the person you live with. If there’s no trust there, you may as well not bother.”
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