Couple celebrate 60 years of marriage with family celebration in Malta
A couple who had to walk more than six miles home from their first date because they had no money to share a taxi are now celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.
Ivan and Rita Harris met at a dance in Witham in February 1956 but when the end of the night came and they tried to find a way back to Rita’s home in Tiptree, they realised they had spent all their cash and had to walk.
The couple married later that year but then had to relocate to Malta because Ivan was posted there for naval service.
After five years they returned to the UK and settled in Monk wick, Colchester, for 20 years before moving to Greenstead.
Rita worked as a cleaner at Essex County Hospital, while Ivan took a job as a lorry driver .
Once they had both retired Ivan, now 81, and Rita, 79, decided to move back to Malta having fallen in love with the country when they had previously lived there.
Most of the family, which includes four children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren went to a celebration last weekend to mark the anniversary.
Daughter Lorraine Burke told the Essex County Standard the trip had been a massive success.
She said: “They always said they wanted to go off to Malta because it holds so many for them when they were in their younger days.
“We went this weekend and had a big family meal.
“My parents used to be big party people but obviously not quite so much now.
“We do not get much time together so it was really lovely to have so many family members together.
“My dad sometimes says the secret of their longevity is letting my mum get her own way, or at least think she is getting her own way.”