Diamond day for Christmas couple
ADEVOTED couple who wed on Christmas Eve are celebrating 60 years of marriage this festive season.
Great- grandparents John Rex Mullen and Joan Banks, of Oswaldtwistle, tied the knot at Accrington’s St Andrews Church on December 24, 1960 - the only day they could get while John, also known as Rex and ‘JR’, was on his Christmas leave from National Service.
They had met in the summer of 1957 while both working at Enfield manufacturing company, where Oswaldtwistle Mills is now based and after courting for two years, got engaged in 1959.
They have two daughters Janet and Barbara, and are proud grandparents to Ashleigh Jade, 27, and their beloved greatgrandchildren Eliza Rose, six, and Arthur James, 15 months.
While their roots are in Hyndburn, the couple emigrated to Kaduna, Nigeria in May 1962 due to John’s job in the cotton industry, before returning to Lancashire in 1973 to buy their first house on Foxhill Terrace, where they still live.
John, 82, was originally based in North Wales for his two years’ National Service training, then went on to be based in Aldershot as a trainee para. After he was demobbed he returned to his previous job as a tackler.
Both he and Joan, 79, have done various jobs over the years as their daughters grew up, and both worked at the same time at Wills Fabrics and Brockhall hospital, their last workplace before taking early retirement.
Due to Covid and last weekend’s announcement on Christmas bubbles, the family’s planned celebrations have unfortunately had to be scaled down, although they will be able to hold a small family get together at their daughter Barbara’s house in Accrington. They are also expecting a surprise telegram from the Queen, sending them her congratulations.
Barbara said she had been planning an anniversary party for a year, and it was disappointing it was being put on ice, but they were determined to make the best of it and celebrate being together.
“We are just a very close-knit family,” she said. “They’re lovely. My dad cares a lot for my mum, and as a couple they’re like a pair of children - they bicker but they never fall out! My dad is into photography and my mum lives for her granddaughter and greatgrandchildren, the light of her life.
“A lot of my friends have lost one or other parent and a couple of them have said how lucky we are that we still have our parents both together, and we feel totally blessed.”