A COUPLE who have been at the heart of Richmond civic life since they were married have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Gerald and Doreen Swainston enjoyed a party at the Terrace Care Home in Maison Dieu, Richmond, surrounded by family and friends, on Saturday, August 2.

Mrs Swainston, 82, and her husband met when she was 16. They would walk to school together when he attended the grammar school and she the high school in Richmond.

The couple were members of the Round Table in Richmond, as well as Richmond Rotary Club, and Mr Swainston was a warden of Mercers, Grocers, and Haberdashers and was also of the Company of Fellmongers.

Mrs Swainston, who said she and her husband have led very active, social lives, was a member of Inner Wheel and remains part of a group called Tangent which meets up occasionally for a meal.

Mr Swainston was a surveyor for the Dioceses of Ripon and Leeds, and designed many new vicarages including at Reeth, and Mrs Swainston was headteacher at Richmond Church of England Primary School.

She said: “We got married in Hutton Rudby by the vicar from Easby on July 31, 1954, and we have two daughters Ann and Marie.

“They, as well as our six grandchildren, Matthew, Simon, Gemma, Hayley, Roisin and Kian attended the party and we enjoyed music from Matthew and Simon who are both very musical.”

She added: “I think the secret to our long and happy marriage has been that we both enjoy being part of the community and helping people.

“We have a lot of happy memories and I think that helps too.”