Di­a­mond day for char­ity helpers

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - STU­ART PIKE stu­[email protected]­media.co.uk @stu­art­pike78

ACOUPLE whose eyes first met dur­ing a school snow­ball fight are cel­e­brat­ing 60 years of mar­riage.

Anne and Neville Crane, of Fern­hill Close, Stack­steads, were due to mark their Di­a­mond Wed­ding an­niver­sary on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 27.

They met as Bacup and Rawten­stall Gram­mar School stu­dents, while Neville also taught botany and zool­ogy there from 1958-61.

A Probus mem­ber, Neville, 82, later taught in Nige­ria and Mon­tego Bay in the Six­ties, re­tir­ing as head of bi­o­log­i­cal sciences at Bury Metropoli­tan Col­lege after 30 years in the pro­fes­sion.

The cou­ple, who have a daugh­ter Sharon Rose, son Ian Crane, and grand­chil­dren David and Katy, were re­cently treated to a tour of their old class­rooms, or­gan­ised by for­mer deputy head and friend Trevor Elk­ing­ton.

Anne, who grew up in Clough­fold and has a long con­nec­tion with many char­i­ta­ble and com­mu­nity groups, said it was a ‘lovely’ treat. She added: “We met three stu­dents and they pre­sented us with a bou­quet of flow­ers.

“We both had a very good ground­ing at BRGS. We met there in 1954, we had a snow­ball fight and I got two snow­balls down his neck! I thought ‘he will re­mem­ber me.’”

The fam­ily hit the head­lines in 1962 when Neville, who had re­cently re­turned to Nige­ria from leave, only learned of daugh­ter Sharon’s birth 4,000 miles away from his lo­cal bank man­ager.

Anne had stayed be­hind for the birth, but when a telegram an­nounc­ing it was placed in Neville’s pi­geon hole in Kano, he had al­ready been un­ex­pect­edly trans­ferred to Sokoto, hun­dreds of miles away.

Neville fi­nally got the happy news after a ‘baby­has-just-ar­rived’ card was sent to a friend in Wales, the wife of Sokoto’s bank man­ager.

A school sec­re­tary at Thorn Pri­mary, as well as chair­man of gov­er­nors, Anne, 79, was pres­i­dent of Bacup Sorop­tomists for their Sil­ver Ju­bilee year and vice chaired Hyndburn and Rossendale Vic­tim Sup­port’s com­mit­tee.

The cou­ple are also known as Save the Chil­dren vol­un­teers - Neville de­liv­er­ing the fruit scones on an­nual Straw­berry De­light fundrais­ers.

They were both pa­tient li­ai­son helpers - known as pals - after Bacup’s health cen­tre opened in 2005.

The fam­ily will cel­e­brate with an an­niver­sary meal the day after Box­ing Day, fol­lowed by a bless­ing ser­vice at their church Stack­steads Methodist on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 30.

Rossendale cou­ple Neville and Anne Crane are cel­e­brat­ing their 60th wed­ding an­niver­sary. They are pic­tured below on their wed­ding day

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