An elderly couple in their 90’s have celebrated their diamond anniversary by renewing their vows in the church in which they got married 75 years before.
Irene Richardson, 94, and Jim Richardson, 95, from Lancashire tied the knot in the midst of the WWII on April 12, 1944, aged 19 and 20.
The retired couple, both farmers, are among the longest married couples in Lancashire.
If there’s one thing Jim has regretted all his life, it’s not thanking his late mother during his groom’s speech at the original marriage, more than seven decades ago.
So, Sandra Taylor, their granddaughter, planned a vow renewal ceremony allowing Jim to pay tribute to his mother.
The ceremony took place at 2pm – the same time as of their original one. Irene and Jim stood and sat in the exact same positions as of the time they took their first vows.
‘It went amazingly,’ Sandra said of the service. ‘We got photographs of them leaving the front door. They were very excited about it. The blessing was just lovely.’
The service took place at St Michael’s CE church in Lancashire in the presence of their friends and family.
Their four children – James, Jennifer, Rosemary, and Peter – eight grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild, all were present at the ceremony.
A special mention was made about Jim’s late mother during the prayers so as to fulfill his wish of thanking her.
‘I asked to put in the prayers to thank his mom for everything she did for him while she was alive,’ Sandra, a 52-year-old admin worker, said.
Jim also fulfilled his wish to walk out to the wedding march and Irene got the chance to get played the popular hymn All Thing Bright and Beautiful at the service.
After the ceremony, Jim said he felt ‘six feet tall,’ adding of his long marriage: ‘I would do it all again. I’m proud of every member of my family.’
A delighted Irene said while toasting the ceremony with champagne: ‘You can always go to one another with your troubles. It has been a lovely life.’
Jim proposed to the love of his life during a bike ride before they tied the knot in 1944.
On their big day, they had to drive all the way to Preston for the wedding photographs. After that, they returned for a hot buffet and a reception in the evening.
Their first home after marriage was at Plane Tree Farm at Sowerby in 1947 where they stayed until 1963. They later moved to Cross Hill Farm at Treales and got engaged in farming until their retirement.
Jim also used to work as a mini-bus driver at Top Rank Services at Forton and later as a snowplough driver for Lancashire County Council.
Irene also worked at an unusual cafe for some time.
Sandra said of Irene’s cafe: ‘Blackpool had a big wheel just outside the Winter Gardens and when it was dismantled, one of the carriages was taken to St Michael’s and attached to the side of a house, where it still is today, and it was turned into a cafe.
‘Certainly that’s to do with their longevity. They said that there is no secret to a happy, long marriage, just take each day as it comes.’
Sandra said her grandparents are still very independent, adding: ‘Grandad still drives. I take him to the supermarket for shopping once a week.
‘That’s all we are allowed to do. They are very independent.’
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