Ethel (82) and Chris (81) Hayward celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary at Milford House Care Home on Thursday with all the staff and residents congratulating them over a champagne afternoon tea!

The Belper born and bred couple, who have been married 60 years met at a regular Saturday night dance at the Assembly Rooms in Belper, whilst listening to a Billy Joyce band.

The couple have always resided locally, Chris, whose father was editor of the Belper News, finished his career as Managing Director of a metal finishing company in Nottingham and Ethel was a bookkeeper.

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The couple were married on a rainy day at 12.00pm in St Peter’s Church in Belper on 29th March 1958, followed by a reception at the Strutt Arms Hotel. They then enjoyed a four-day honeymoon in London before returning to Belper. Ethel’s wedding dress was made of Nottingham lace and she still has it 60 years on, having since had it made into an evening dress.

They celebrated their 60 shared years together with their large family, including four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, one of whom shares this special day with them celebrating her 1st birthday, at Horsley Lodge on Sunday.

Milford Care then helped the couple mark the special day in style, throwing them a tea party at Milford House and there was even a surprise from the Belper Dalesmen Male Choir, of which Chris was a member for 20 years.

When asked what advice she would give newlyweds, Ethel said, “A marriage is about give and take. Always talk to each other, that’s important.

“I think that’s part of the problem with modern relationships, people don’t sit down together. If they have a problem, people are too quick to get up and go, they don’t sit down and work it out together.”

The couple say a secret to a happy marriage is to do things together. Over the years they have been keen gardeners, Chris even kept bees, enjoyed caravan touring holidays and walking and at one point even had a sailing dingy and a tandem bicycle.

“We’ve had a busy life, we can look back on our time together and be really happy.” explained Ethel.

Ethel drives three miles everyday to visit Chris at Milford Care and is always quick to join in with the activities going on, one of Chris’ favourite activities is balloon badminton. Although they have many shared interests, Wednesday Zumba isn’t one of them!

Chris was originally at the home for respite care whilst Ethel was unwell but following a stroke the couple decided he should return to Milford House as Chris says, “I like it here, they are very good at keeping us busy and the atmosphere and décor are very homely.”