Empingham couple prepare to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary

David and Pat Harris at home in Empingham EMN-160310-170556001

David and Pat Harris at home in Empingham EMN-160310-170556001

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A couple who used to play together as children growing up in Essex in the 1930s are preparing to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

David and Pat Harris, who live in Main Road, Empingham, will celebrate 60 years of marriage next week.

Friends from the village will gather at Empingham Cricket Club for a party on Thursday – their anniversary.

Two days later, a family celebration will be held at Stapleford Park, near Melton Mowbray.

David, 83, and Pat, 84, both grew up in Dagenham and regularly socialised together because their parents were friends.

Although they admit they were not particularly fond of each other at the time, romance blossomed when David was away for two years of National Service in his early twenties and Pat started writing to him.

David said: “We lived near each other as children and our fathers, who were both engineers, were friends.

“Our families saw each other quite regularly. Also, my twin brother John and I were in a choir run by Pat’s mother.

“I did my National Service late because I’d been studying engineering and when I was away, Pat’s mum suggested she started writing to me to fill me in on what was happening.”

After leaving the army, David, who trained at the Ford plant, in Dagenham, got a job as a mechanical engineer working at an ICI research station in West Sussex.

Three months into the job, he and Pat got engaged. They were married on October 13, 1956 in Dagenham.

David stayed at ICI for 30 years, rising the ranks and managing a department.

Pat worked as a medical secretary. The couple had three sons – one of whom sadly died aged 20 from leukaemia.

They have four grandchildren.

The couple say the secret to a happy marriage is enjoying similar interests.

Pat said: “David is a keen photographer who was president of Midhurst Photographic Society and he joined Stamford Photographic Society soon after we moved to Empingham 18 years ago.

“I have always sung, and we have supported each other’s events and shows over the years.

“Time has flown by. We can remember our wedding day very clearly and are looking forward to celebrating our diamond anniversary.”