Couple Celebrate 75th Anniversary By Renewing Wedding Vows In The Same Church
Jim Richardson, 95, and Irene, 94, met at a village dance and married on 12th April 1944 aged 20 and 19 in the midst of WW2.
The retired farming couple - who are believed to be one of the longest married couples in Lancashire - had four children in the 75 years they have been together.
However, Jim always regretted not thanking his late mother during his original groom's speech and wanted to walk out to 'the wedding march', so granddaughter Sandra Taylor planned the celebration on their behalf.
During the service on their anniversary, the couple sat and stood in the exact positions as the original ceremony, which was even conducted at 2pm - the exact time of their first vows.
Sandra said of the service: "It went amazingly. We got photographs of them leaving the front door.
"They were very excited about it. The blessing was just lovely."
Family and friends gathered at the St Michael's CE church in Lancashire for the service, including the couple's four children - Rosemary, James, Jennifer and Peter - eight grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
Jim proposed to Irene as they cycled together, stopping at a local wood to get out a ring and get down on one knee.
On their wedding day in 1944, the newlyweds were driven to a photographers in Preston for their wedding photographs before returning for a hot buffet and later an evening reception with tea and cakes.
Their wedding feast was supplied locally from a family farm and a relative brought a salmon fished from the river Lune.
For the new service, admin worker Sandra, 52, revealed her grandfather had a particular wish - to pay tribute to his late mum.
She explained: "I asked to put in the prayers to thank his mum for everything she did for him while she was alive."
Irene also chose the popular hymn, 'All Thing Bright and Beautiful', to be sung at the blessing service and Jim wanted to walk out to the wedding march.
The couple returned home after the vow renewal to toast 75 years with champagne.
A delighted Jim said he felt "six feet tall" after the blessing, adding of their long marriage: "I would do it all again. I'm proud of every member of my family."
An equally happy Irene said: "You can always go to one another with your troubles. It has been a lovely life."
The couple had made their married home at Plane Tree Farm at Sowerby from 1947 to 1963 and then Cross Hill Farm at Treales before retiring from farming in 1970.
Jim also worked as a mini-bus driver at Top Rank Services at Forton and later for Lancashire County Council, where his role including working as a snow plough driver.
Irene worked in a number of hotels and cafes, before they started farming together as a couple.
And after retiring from farming, the couple moved to a bungalow in St Michael's, where they still live.
Granddaughter Sandra said "compromise" was the secret to their loving marriage.
She said: "They love each other very much and they do talk about things. I think it's routine - they know what they are going to be doing.
"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."
Despite their old age, Sandra said the couple were still very independent, and Jim still drives.
She added: "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."
She noted the couple still tend their half acre garden and that Irene was a very talented flower arranger and cake decorator as well as working on the farm with Jim.
Congratulations to 75 years!
Featured Image Credit: SWNS