Champagne and cake toast for devoted Pendle couple celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss

Champagne corks popped this week for a young at heart couple to toast their 60th wedding anniversary.

And although Covid-19 put paid to their plans for a big party with family and friends, Alma and Walter Stafford still enjoyed their Diamond anniversary, with a glass of champers and a specially made cake. And they have vowed to celebrate in style in 2021.

Married at Burnley Register Office in 1960 the couple first met at a youth club in Nelson when Alma was just 15.

They were engaged within a year and tied the knot when Alma was 17 and Walter was 20.

A champagne toast for devoted couple Walter and Alma Stafford who have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary (photo by Carlton Young)

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"It was definitely love at first sight because I did fancy him straight away, " said Alma who is now a very youthful 77.

Their first home was a two up two down back to back house in Barrowford which Alma describes as their first 'love nest.'

They went on to have a son Craig, who now lives in Kent, and a daughter Andrea who lives in Burnley. They have four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Over the years the couple have had a variety of different jobs between them but Walter, who will be 80 in two weeks, spent the majority of his working life at brickyards across Lancashire including Burnley, Nelson, Colne and Accrington. He also worked at the former G Plan furniture factory in Nelson.

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The Staffords on their wedding day in 1960

Alma fulfilled her dream to become a nurse and spent several years working at Burnley General Hospital and the former Victoria Hospital in Burnley in the 1980s. And if it was possible she would love to be on the frontline today.

She said: "I absolutely loved nursing and just wish I had trained to do it sooner in life

"I wish I could go back now even as a volunteer."

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The Barrowford couple, who have lived in the Pendle area all their lives, love walking and Walter is also a keen photographer and amateur genealogist. He has been tracing his family tree for decades and has managed to go right back to the 1300s. He is also a founder member of the Colne branch of the Lancashire Family History Society.

Walter is also a railway enthusiast and sidesman at St Paul's Church in Nelson where the couple have been regular members of the congregation for over 20 years.

So what is the secret to lasting love and a good marriage according to the Staffords?

They both agree that discussing things and compromise play a major part and also making time for each other and having time together.

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Alma said: "Marriage is something you have to work at. There are two of you in it so you both have to play your part."