Diamond couple turn back the clock

Bertha and Ken Thompson with the diamond wedding anniversary cake.
Bertha and Ken Thompson with the diamond wedding anniversary cake.

A DIAMOND couple celebrated last week at the very church where they were married 60 years earlier .

Ken and Bertha Thompson, of High Newton-by-the- Sea, returned to St Paul’s Church in North Sunderland for a service organised by Lay Canon Scott Smith.

Part of the service was taken by 96-year-old Sister Mary Raphael, who taught Bertha when she was a pupil at Our Lady’s Convent High School in Alnwick.

They went afterwards to the Bamburgh Castle Hotel, as they had done after their marriage on March 31, 1951, and celebrated with family over the weekend.

Mr Thompson, 82, and his 79-year-old wife have three children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Mrs Thompson said: “My husband and I were just going to go to church quietly but it escalated from there.

“It was a lovely little thanksgiving.

“The whole family celebrated yesterday and we have come down to earth this morning.”

The couple met at Dunstanburgh Castle when a then 14-year-old Bertha was visiting with her friend, and they married five years later.

The wedding was arranged for Saturday, March 31, as they weren’t allowed to get married during Lent, nor on Easter Saturday, and Ken’s father informed them he would not be able to come on March 24 because it was Grand National day!

And when the big day finally came?

“The done thing in Seahouses then was to wire kippers to the exhaust of the car,” said Mrs Thompson.

“That day it snowed in the morning and then by lunchtime it was pouring with rain.

“By the time we got half-way between Annstead Farm and Beadnell, the smell was horrendous.

“So Ken was lying on the floor in the slush untying the kippers!”

But there is some simple advice for married bliss.

“I won’t say we have never had rows,” she said.

“But I follow some advice from my family – never let the sun go down on wrath. That’s the answer really.”