A double diamond celebration

Doug and Shirley Hornby, of Green End Avenue, Earby, celebrate 60 years of marriage.
Doug and Shirley Hornby, of Green End Avenue, Earby, celebrate 60 years of marriage.
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Two Earby couples have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversaries on the same day and reminisced about a wedding reception oversight which has kept them as friends ever since.

Brian and Edna Smith, of Wentcliffe Drive, and Doug and Shirley Hornby, of Green End Avenue, marked their respective 60th wedding anniversaries last week.

Brian and Edna Smith, of Wentcliffe Drive, Earby, on their diamond wedding anniversary.

Brian and Edna Smith, of Wentcliffe Drive, Earby, on their diamond wedding anniversary.

The Smiths, who married at Kelbrook Chapel in the morning, had their reception at the Station Hotel in Earby.

However, the Hornbys, who wed at the Methodist Church in Riley Street in the afternoon, had also booked the same venue and a hotel error meant the Smiths and their guests were moved out to allow the Hornbys and their party to move in to the main function room.

Doug (86) recalls: “We were passing each other on the stairs. It was absolutely hilarious.”

The Hornbys met after a day out to Blackpool in 1954. The Saturday afternoon train which had taken hordes of teenagers to the seaside earlier in the day terminated at Colne on the return.

Doug ended up being sat in the front of a taxi with Shirley heading back to Barnoldswick and Earby respectively.

Shirley (81) said: “I think it was love at first sight. Doug asked me out and we went to Keighley the following day to a music concert.”

Doug, who had a hairdressers in Earby, before later working in the fabrications department at Rolls-Royce, moved into to Green End Avenue with Shirley, a weaver turned childminder, and they had two children Lee and Claire.

Now with four grandchildren and a great-grandchild, the couple have had many interests over the years and include touring the UK in their motorbike and sidecar and have been members of St Peter’s Church in Earby for at least 40 years.

The Hornbys had a celebratory family meal at the weekend at the Craven Heifer in Kelbrook to mark the momentous occasion.

Brian (80) and Edna (81) met in 1952 when Brian was at Henry Brown and Sons and Pickles Ltd in Wellhouse Road, Barnoldswick, and Edna worked as a weaver at the adjacent Eric Nutter shed.

Another tale of love at first sight, their romance began with an exchange of Valentine’s Cards before Brian, an engineer, moved to Germany as part of his national service.

Edna said: “I was always going to wait. I knew there was something different when I met Brian. He’s written in my card ‘I found my diamond 63 years ago’. And we’ve been married for 60 of them.”

Brian, who later worked at Gissing and Lonsdale, said: “We wrote to each other almost every day while I was away. I knew she was the one for me.”

After marrying, the couple made their home in Colne Road, Earby, and had a daughter Tonia Michelle Harrison and three grandchildren Luke, Max and Hannah.

Brian and Edna, a warden for the elderly with Earby and then Pendle Councils, have enjoyed many hobbies together such as ballroom dancing and caravan holidays across the country.

They are marking 60 years of marriage with a short break to the Isle of Wight.

And the secret to a happy and long-lasting marriage? Edna said: “Just talk things through and respect each other. We’ve had some happy times.”

Brian added: “We were thinking where have the years gone? I would do anything different. We’d love to do it all over again.”