Having returned to East Lancashire after celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary at sea on an Atlantic cruise, a Burnley couple have spoken about what was a "brilliant" trip to mark 60 years of marriage.
Now back on terra firma after their cruise down to the Canary Islands via Madeira and Lisbon, Raymond and Barbara Park (both 80) of Ottoburn Grove have praised cruise company P&O, with whom they have been frequent travellers for over two decades, for making the 60th anniversary of their marriage on April 4th, 1959 very special indeed.
Working in cahoots with the captain of their cruise ship, the Azura, Raymond and Barbara's grandchildren Amie (23) and Robbie (18) had managed to organise for the happy couple to be presented with a congratulatory message from Her Majesty the Queen on the day of their anniversary, while they were also given the full VIP treatment.
"The cruise was absolutely brilliant," said Raymond, who was born on Heap Street and worked in the forces, also spending time working for Prudential. "We got the full treatment: when they were going through everything we were set to do I felt my Visa twitching in my wallet! But they said, 'Mr Park, this is all on P&O.' The captain was brilliant.
"We've cruised a lot; we've done the Med, Norway - that's was our favourite, it's beautiful around the fjords," Raymond added, explaining that they planned the trip so they could celebrate the anniversary at sea off the coast of Portugal. "This was our 30th cruise and we'll definitely do more in the future."
Saying that even the ship's captain had asked what the secret to such a long a contented marriage was, Raymond replied that his relationship with Barbara - who was born on New Hall Street, working in the Lucas Industries' switch factory, at the Co-op on St. Matthew Street, and in various local mills before retiring - was based on one simple rule.
"I'll tell everyone the secret to a long marriage and I'll be downright honest," Raymond said. "When they ask you to jump, jump as high as you can, but both of you should know the lines you shouldn't cross and know what you can push. We're big friends; really good friends after 60 years.
"I've really had a good'un," he said.