A PENDLE couple celebrating their golden wedding anniversary have received royal congratulations from Prince William and Kate Middleton who share their special day.
Tony and Rita Medley tied the knot on April 29th, 1961, but their marriage was almost cut short when Tony was involved in a motorbike accident.
The couple said the accident brought them closer and after 50 years of marriage wanted to pass their best wishes on to the royal pair.
Tony said: “I thought I’d write them a letter to tell them that we shared their wedding day and we had been married 50 years. I also offered them some marriage advice and wished them all the best. We never expected a reply and were over the moon to get a letter congratulating us on our anniversary.”
Tony, born in Nelson, and Rita, from Earby, met as teenagers at Rolls-Royce, Barnoldswick, where they both worked. Tony later left the company to join the Merchant Navy as an engineer officer and it was while he was on leave they married at St Philip’s Church, Nelson.
They settled in Trawden before moving to Langdale Rise, Colne, and had four children - Sean, Paul, Jayne and Lisa. They have since welcomed eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Tony said: “We are a close family and I think it is our bond with our family that has made our marriage last. We are good friends and confidants and can talk to each other about anything. Love is at the bottom of everything, though - we love each other and our family.”
The couple were brought closer 11 years ago when Tony was involved in a serious motorbike accident that left him near death.
He was setting off from traffic lights in Cowling when he was hit by an ambulance and then reversed over.
He suffered serious spinal damage and was told he would never walk again.
Rita said: “It was such as shock and something you never really get over. It affected everything, we had young grandchildren at the time and he was unable to lift them and hold them. It has brought us closer together, it takes something like that to affect your judgement and make you realise what is important.”
Tony has been described by doctors as a “walking miracle” as he now has use of his legs and is able to lead an active life despite being in constant pain.
Rita said: “We have a lot to be grateful for and are looking forward to celebrating our 50 years of marriage this weekend.”
The couple will celebrate with family and friends at the Old Stone Trough in Kelbrook.