Burnley couple’s secret to 60-year marriage

Ben and Alice Harrison who are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.
Ben and Alice Harrison who are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

Good friends and family and living a decent honest life have brought years of happy love and contentment for diamond couple Mr and Mrs Ben and Alice Harrison.

They were married 60 years ago at Christ the King RC Church, Burnley, and will celebrate their special milestone with a family weekend away in Chester.

Their anniversary began early with a surprise from the Queen for Mrs Harrison. She knew nothing about her husband’s subterfuge and conspiracy with their daughter-in-law Margaret, arranging for a card and best wishes from Buckingham Palace.

“We had to be in on a certain day and the Royal Mail had instructions to deliver it before lunch,” said Mr Harrison. “I knew it was coming so I asked Alice to get the door when the postman came. Well, it made her day.”

Romance blossomed for the couple on the dance floor after they met at Nelson Imp, and they continued to enjoy dancing for many years. They also liked to get out and about in the countryside and walking.

Now both 82, they prefer to take life a little easier, still enjoying each other’s company at their home in St Matthew Street.

Mr Harrison served his time as a maintenance engineer at Howard and Bullough, Accrington, and spent his whole working life in engineering. He retired from Lucas Aerospace, where he was a fitter.

Mrs Harrison began her working life in the office at her father’s jute bag factory, Knowles Bag Makers at Meadow Mill. She went on to use her experience at other firms and later learned hairdressing to run her own business in St Matthew Street. Her daughter, Catherine, followed in her footsteps and keeps busy at her shop in Gannow Lane.

The couple have two sons, Michael and Ian, and six grandchildren. “We’ve been very fortunate,” said Mr Harrison. “Our anniversary was the day after Catherine’s 50th birthday, so we just had a quiet do. We’re all going away to Chester for the weekend so everyone will be together and we are all looking forward to having a good time.”