A COURTSHIP spent sending love letters to a navy ship stationed thousands of miles away has resulted in a 60-year marriage for Doris Lowe.

She and husband Syd, from Halliwell, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last week by bringing every member of their large immediate family together at Bolton Golf Club.

Their four daughters, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren all attended the party hosted by 84-year-old Syd and Doris, aged 82.

Such a Lowe family dynasty could not have been envisaged when Doris and Syd wed at St Thomas’s Church in Halliwell on September 26, 1953, after only a six-week engagement.

Syd’s commitments to the Merchant Navy dictated that Doris had to pick her moment wisely to get him down the aisle. Immediately prior to the wedding he had spent two years on a voyage which originally was merely a six-week trip to the Caribbean.

The pair first met about 70 years ago when they were in the scouts and guides.

“He was a radio officer from 1950 onwards, so I spent most of my courting days writing letters,” said Doris.

“Then when he was home, after talking about engagement we were in Manchester and I saw a ring and Syd bought it.”

After marrying on a sunny autumnal day, with Syd in naval uniform, and a dance reception at the Empress Night Club, the couple honeymooned a lot closer to home.

“We went to Sidmouth in Devon so we had our wedding night on an overnight train,” said Doris.

“But, it was really nice but, for some reason, we’ve never been back. Perhaps we will go back at some point although we only had a youth hostel then, because money was so tight, so hopefully we could stretch to a hotel this time.”

Ten years ago, for their golden wedding, they enjoyed a slightly more luxurious break. With daughter Karen and son-in-law Steve Shillito, Doris and Syd went on a cruise around the Mediterranean.

The couple have always lived in Halliwell and moved into their current home in Temple Drive in 1964.

After leaving the navy, Syd and a Doris ran a newsagents in Chorley Old Road for five years, before Syd bought the Halliwell Road electrical shop he had previously worked at, which he ran until retirement.

Karen, Christine, Vivien and Joanne are their main sources of pride, but Syd said the time he and Doris have been together is probably their biggest achievement.

He said: “There’s not many people who have been married 60 years and even fewer who have never had a cross word!”