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Darlington couple overcome challenge to celebrate 60 years of marriage
A COUPLE who overcame adversity to reach 60 years of marriage have renewed their vows in a church ceremony – after family members read an appeal in The Northern Echo.
Elizabeth and Robert Colley, of Darlington, known to friends as Betty and Bob, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary this year.
The couple, of West Moor Road, fulfilled a long-held ambition when they reaffirmed their love for one another in a ceremony at St Herbert’s Church, in the town.
The touching ceremony came about after the Reverend Christine Blakesley (CORR), the vicar of St Herbert’s, offered a couple who got married in the same year as the Queen came to the throne the chance to renew their vows for free.
She came up with the idea as a way of celebrating the Queen’s jubilee and, in January, made an appeal in The Northern Echo for qualifying couples to come forward.
The Colleys’ granddaughter, Susan Tweddle, read about the opportunity in the paper and got in touch with Rev Blakesley.
The vicar described the poignant scenes in church as the couple, who are both in their 70s, renewed their marriage vows.
She said: “The church was very still as they renewed their vows, they are obviously still very much in love.
“They looked into each other’s eyes and gave each other new rings, it was a very touching moment.
“We took some photos afterwards and a very happy time was had by all.”
A large congregation turned out for the ceremony last month, including all the Colleys’ friends and family.
The ceremony, at the Yarm Road church, took place shortly after Mr Colley had completed treatment for an illness.
Mrs Tweddle said: “My granddad had not been very well and I thought it might be something they would both like to do, because they have been married for such a long time.
“We called the vicar, then spoke to my grandparents and my nana said it was something they had always wanted to do.
“It was a lovely idea.”