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Diamond wedding couple John and Margaret Bell celebrate 60 years of marriage at home in Exton, Rutland

A Rutland couple will soon be celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss together - and all in the same house!

John and Margaret Bell of Pudding Bag Lane, Exton, married in the village church on December 19, 1959.

Margaret, 82, was born in Burnley and was working at Uppingham School in cleaning and laundry.

John and Margaret Bell (23524672)
John and Margaret Bell (23524672)

John, 81, was born and raised in Exton, and the couple met at a dance on John’s 16th birthday, with dancing something they still enjoy today.

They became engaged after two years and wed after five.

Margaret said: “We just grew on each other.”

John added: “If I suggested something, we did it.”

When they were married, they moved into their historic cottage. Initially, it just had a few rooms as it was under repair for three months.

Few changes have been made over the decades as it is a listed building and even though the couple own their home, Lord Gainsborough must be consulted about any changes.

By the time they were wed, Margaret was working for Lady Gainsborough, caring for their children, and Lady Gainsborough paid for her wedding dress.

John has had a variety of jobs, including maintenance work with British Steel. He also worked on one of the country’s largest earthmoving machines that was built in the village.

John also worked as a machine fitter for Rutland Water and he undertook boiler maintenance work for RAF Wittering and RAF Cottesmore. He also worked as a labourer for Ruddles Brewery.

Margaret retired aged 60 after a nannying career and John retired at 70.

These days, the couple enjoy going to dances together. John likes his garden, keeping chickens and mending bicycles.

They both share a passion for coach holidays around Europe.

Now, the couple are expecting a ‘surprise’ celebration organised by their children Simon and Susan. Simon lives in Bourne and has a daughter and granddaughter. Susan lives near Brighton and has a boy and a girl.

Looking back on their life, Margaret says they have both been “absolutely, very happy”.

She continued: “We just share everything. We are very easy to get on with each other.”

They have also loved living in Exton and in their cottage.

Margaret added: “We will only be moved out in a box.”

New wedding venue to open

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