• Mon. May 27th, 2024

North East Connected

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Salvation Army band marks 75 years of wedded bliss

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It was wedding anniversaries at the double for the Chairman of Durham County Council when she made special visits to Consett and Chilton to celebrate the two wonderful occasions with family and friends.

Cllr Jan Blakey said it was music to the ears of Tom and Freda Raine when they were serenaded by Consett Salvation Army band as they celebrated a stunning 75 years of wedded bliss at Maple Court in Consett.

Some of their fondest memories are with the Salvation Army where Tom was a bandsman while Freda sang in the choir and was also an assistant organist.

Tom, 98, and 95-year-old Freda first met at a Salvation Army meeting in Sherburn Hill, Durham. Love blossomed for local lad Tom and for Freda, who hailed from Chester-le-Street.

After four years of courtship they were married at Craghead Methodist Church and went on to have three children, which have been followed by six grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

After initially living in Grange Villa, Freda and Tom spent 40 years in Craghead and lived another ten years in Chester-le-Street before moving to Consett.

Tom started worked as a 14-year-old miner in his home village of Sherburn Hill and remained in the coal industry until he was 55 before taking a position with Durham Police as a driver/handyman

Freda started as a shop assistant before calling time on her working career at the post office savings in Durham.

There were diamond wedding celebrations for Bill, 82, and 81-year-old Rita Walton, of Chilton, where they still live in the house they bought 59 years ago.

They met as teenagers when Rita was 15 and Bill a year older at Woolworths in Bishop Auckland where Rita worked on the music counter at a time when Mario Lanza and Frank Sinatra topped the charts.

Bill, born in Cockfield, worked at Wigglesworth Colliery and they married at Holy Trinity Church, West Cornforth, and honeymooned in London.

Rita undertook a career in nursing at Bishop Auckland A&E department and was followed into the profession by Bill who became a psychiatric nurse at Winterton and Aycliffe hospitals.

As well as their three children, they now boast nine grandchildren which include eight boys and their first great grandchild is on the way.

Cllr Blakey, who presented a basket of flowers to both couples, said: “It was absolutely wonderful to meet up with such wonderful people and hear all about their magnificent lives together. They had some wonderful tales and memories to tell and are clearly adored by their families.”

By admin