A DEEPLY spiritual couple who devoted their lives to others have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
Surrey-born Canon Richard Spurin and his wife Pat have made countless friends in Burnley and indeed around the world, touched by their generosity and kindness.
In a lifetime of helping others less fortunate than themselves, the selfless couple dedicated their lives to missionary work, particularly in Kenya, where they set up their own charity the Friends of Sikinga.
Indeed, they asked for donations to the charity rather than anniversary presents, which raised £1,200 following a celebration at their home in Rosemount Avenue.
Pat (79) said: “I first met Richard through a church youth group when we were teenagers growing up in Surrey. Richard helped me to understand the Christian faith more.
“We kept in touch and several years later I was sent to Kenya through the Church Missionary Society.
“I was out there when Richard sent me a letter suggesting we should get engaged. He then sent the engagement ring out with a friend who was coming to Kenya!”
Richard then joined Pat in the poverty-stricken east African country, which they made their home and was the birthplace of their children John and Helen.
The couple were married at Butere Girls’ School in Maseno by Bishop Festo Olang. They even had African bridesmaids.
Eighty-three-year-old Richard, who studied theology at Cambridge University, added: “Pat was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen.
“She was also extremely clever and caring. On top of that she’s an excellent cook who cooked me marvellous scrambled eggs!”
The couple moved to Lancashire in 1991 to be nearer to their daughter when Richard was appointed curate at Padiham Green Church and St Margaret’s Hapton.
Despite ill-health, Pat still preaches at St Peter’s Church and Richard is still a regular attender at the Wheatley Lane Inghamite Church.
Pat added: “We learned so much in Kenya about life and the most important thing, which we have brought home with us, is the desire to help each other.
“Whenever possible I try to entertain people, particularly students, many from overseas, at our home.
“It is very important to us and a common interest we have shared over the many years we have been together.”