Happiness sees couple to diamond milestone

George and Jean Ashton
George and Jean Ashton

HAPPY and fulfilling times have led to a Longframlington couple reaching a diamond milestone.

George and Jean Ashton, both 84, lived in Morpeth for a lot of their married life before moving to north Northumberland more than 25 years ago.

And at the end of last month they celebrated 60 years of marriage.

George, a mechanical engineer, worked in Gateshead and was sent to Jean’s hometown, Scarborough, to carry out a check of equipment at the factory where she worked.

They met in the company canteen and started courting.

And when Jean went to Gateshead on holiday to recuperate after illness, she decided to settle in the area and the rest is history.

They married at Bensham Methodist Church on January 26, 1952, and set up home in Morpeth in 1956.

From then on George worked with the same employer, Derek Crouch, in opencast mining in the Widdrington area.

He rose to be a member of the senior management team and his working claim to fame was that he was responsible for bringing the giant excavator, Big Geordie, to the region.

The couple had three children, Christine, 59, Hazel, 58, and Susan, 55, five grandaughters, a grandson, and four great grandchildren.

They bought their first house on the then new Loansdean estate and lived in the Castle Morpeth area until moving to Stannington in the late 1960s and then Longframlington.

In middle age, both developed a love of sport. Jean became an active member of Morpeth, Newbiggin and Rothbury golf clubs. In retirement, George revived his passion for cycling which he had enjoyed as a young man.

Both enjoyed their sports competitively and between them have won a number of trophies, the most memorable for Jean being the RVI Foursome Ladies Trophy and for George the Veteran’s Trophy for the Chester/North Wales CTC 100-mile race at the age of 81.

Deteriorating health has meant that they are less active these days but both still continue to enjoy their sports occasionally.

They attribute their 60 years together not only to the happy, fulfilling times they have shared together, and with their expanding family, but also to the fact that their shared determination and ability to work through more difficult periods played an important part in cementing their lasting relationship.

Family, friends, and neighbours enjoyed an anniversary celebration at Embleton Hall. One of the highlights for George and Jean was receiving a greeting from the Queen.