Accrington Observer

Diamond day for Christmas couple

- STUART PIKE @Accrington­News

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.”

 ??  ?? ●● John Rex Mullen and Joan Mullen nee Banks will be celebratin­g 60 years of marriage on Christmas Eve
●● John Rex Mullen and Joan Mullen nee Banks will be celebratin­g 60 years of marriage on Christmas Eve
 ??  ?? ●● John and Joan on their wedding day
●● John and Joan on their wedding day

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