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Burnley couple have been wed for 70 years

Platinum celebration: Barbara and Harry Higgin who are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary

Platinum celebration: Barbara and Harry Higgin who are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary

A teenage romance that blossomed during a rollerskating session has turned platinum.

For today marks the 70th wedding anniversary of Harry Higgin and his wife Barbara.

They will be celebrating with friends and family, including three sons David, Philip and Ian, as they recall that fateful evening when Barbara, now 89, found herself in what was known as “mug’s alley’’ for those who could not skate at the former Empress Ballroom

Barbara, who was just 16 at the time, said: “We caught each other’s eye and got chatting and things just developed from there.’’

Both Burnley born and bred, the courtship did not really begin until Harry decided to join the RAF and he asked a pal to ask Barbara to write to him.

Posted to Bristol and then Swansea, the lovebirds would get together when Harry was on home on leave.

And after a romantic night out 92-year-old Harry would walk Barbara to her home in Pritchard Street before treking all the way across the town to his house in Brunshaw. Harry was posted to Egypt and Barbara was able to join him for some time after the couple had tied the knot at St Matthew’s Church in Burnley.

She lived with her father for the first months of their marriage and when Harry returned to England the couple made their first home in Berry Street.

They later lived in Buttermere Road and Harry returned to his job as a coach painter and sign writer.

In between looking after her sons Barbara worked in a greengrocer’s shop. They moved to Minehead Avenue as the family grew.

The walls of their home are adorned with watercolours of local scenes painted by Harry when he took up a paintbrush after ill health forced him into retirement. While he enjoyed painting, Barbara loved needlecraft and embroidery.

Asked for the recipe to a long and happy marriage the couple, who have one granddaughter and a great grandson, agreed you have to be prepared to work at it.

Barbara said: “We have had our ups and downs like most couples but you have to stick with it and work through your troubles together.’’

 

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