HAPPY New Year is a greeting with extra resonance for a Bradshaw couple celebrating their Diamond Wedding.
Ron and Elsie Keeton, both aged 81, met, became engaged and married on January 1 in three different years.
This year they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their son, daughter and seven grown-up grandchildren, after they wed at St Chad’s Church in Tonge Fold on New Year’s Day, 1954.
Both from the Bolton area, they settled in Bradshaw five years into their marriage, having met at a silver wedding anniversary party on January 1, 1949, when they were both nearly 17.
“There’s no special connection with the date really apart from that, for the wedding. It was a clear day when nobody was working,” said Elsie.
“I suppose it’s just a coincidence really.”
Their Diamond Wedding celebrations have been organised by son Christopher, aged 51, and daughter Suzanne, aged 46.
The pair, who both still also live in Bradshaw, did something similar for Ron and Elsie’s joint 80th birthday celebrations in 2012.
“We had a nice do on the day with just family, but our children have organised a bigger party at Watermillock on the 11th,” said Elsie.
“Friends of ours that we rarely see will be there, and my daughter Suzanne did a similar thing for our joint 80th do a few years ago, and got friends we hadn’t seen in 20 years or more together.
“We were stunned when we walked into the room that she’d found all these people.”
Their big day in 1954 was also well-attended althou-gh Ron’s memories are a little hazy.
“I can’t remember very well but it was really foggy that day,” he said.
“I always joke that I think I went to the wrong church it was that foggy.
“At the end of the day it’s got my name on the register and we’ve made it 60 years so it seems to have worked out.”
Those 60 years have seen the births of seven grandchildren, all of whom are now at university or in work.
Christopher’s three daughters — Rebecca, aged 26, Emma, aged 24, Louisa, aged 20 — and Suzanne’s four children – Rachel, aged 23, Jodie, aged 22, 20-year-old Hayley and Benjamin, aged 17 – all used to pop in on their way home from school.
“When they were at school, they had to walk past here to get home so they would always drop in for a drink and some biscuits,” said Ron.
“We would normally always see them all at least once a week.
“They all still live here, but we see less of them now. Apart from when they want money!”
Ron, who worked self-employed as a painter and decorator after completing his National Service, was forced to retire aged 61 because of back and knee injuries.
“I didn’t have to retire really, until the doctors told me I had to,” he said.
“I worked hard, as did my wife, for textile firms, and we have been able to support the family.
“We like going abroad. We’ve been almost every year with one of the kids to Spain or the Greek isles.
“January’s a busy month for us, five birthdays in the family and our anniversary just after Christmas, so we’ll probably be taking it easy in the next few weeks!”