Shop pair John and Dora mark 60-year marriage

GOING STRONG: Dora and John Pilling with their dog Zak who are celebrating their diamond wedding (S)
GOING STRONG: Dora and John Pilling with their dog Zak who are celebrating their diamond wedding (S)
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Former licensees and shop owners John and Dora Pilling are celebrating their diamond wedding.

Mr and Mrs Pilling, of Dryden Street, Padiham, kept the Barracks Tavern, known as the “Museum” when they moved to the area from Haslingden, and introduced customers to the new fashion of pub grub - chicken in a basket.

The couple met after Mrs Pilling was widowed. She had married in 1946 but her husband died a year later, before the birth of her son, Norman.

In 1954 she and Mr Pilling were married at St Peter’s Church, Haslingden. As a young mum she had been working as a machinist at a slipper factory. Mr Pilling worked on the land, and had two farms off the Grane Road.

By the time the family moved to Burnley in 1968 Norman had gained three sisters, Susan, Deborah and Lisa. Their new home had the “Museum” nickname because one of the upstairs rooms was full of stuffed animals.

Eight years later, the arrival of the M65 meant another change, as the pub was demolished. The family moved to Padiham and opened a confectioner’s shop in Burnley Road. The premises is now a dry cleaners.

“We got to know a lot of people at the pub and in the shop” said Mrs Pilling (88).

The couple retired from the business after eight years and have since devoted much of their time to their garden. Mr Pilling (94) and his wife are still driving.

“We like pottering about the house, but don’t do a lot,” said Mrs Pilling, “And if we do occasionally go out it is usually me that drives these days.

“We still do our own cooking and cleaning and we like to watch television. We are quite content.

“Sixty years is a long time in anyone’s book, and I think we both deserve a medal for putting up with each other.”

As well as their four children, the couple have nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

The family is getting together to celebrate the diamond day with a meal at a hotel.