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SARH customers’ diamond joy
A bicycle helped steer Bill Walker on to the path of true love and kept him on course for more than 60 years.
Bill, used a pedal cycle in his courtship of Eileen during the early 1950s – travelling between his home in Haughton and hers in Gnosall.
“He used to cycle over with a bunch of Sweet Williams,” said Eileen “He still uses a bike now to pop to the shops and collect my pension and he’ll often come back with a bunch of flowers in the basket.”
The couple, of Masons Lawn, Impstones, Gnosall, recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary (9 February) with a surprise party at the Red Lion, in Derrington. The following day they received a blessing at St Lawrence Church followed by a family lunch.
One of their sons, Gordon, flew from his US home of Louisiana to join in the celebrations and one of their granddaughters travelled from Scotland.
They even had a message of congratulations from Her Majesty The Queen.
Bill, aged 83 and Eileen, 78, have three children – Gordon, Jane and Peter, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
They first met on a blind date to Newport cinema arranged by Eileen’s brother.
Eileen, also known by her abbreviated maiden name of ‘Griff’, was a former children’s nanny and Bill, originally from Rugeley, was a farm labourer and factory worker.
They moved to a bungalow at one of Stafford and Rural Homes’ independent living schemes 17 years ago after Bill retired from his last job as a service layer for Severn Trent Water.
“We thought we might have to wait a while but a bungalow became available within a few weeks and we began the next chapter of our lives in a new home,” said Bill.
The couple have played an active role in their community – running the Wednesday Club coffee morning and a weekly bingo session for more than ten years.
Their neighbours held a celebration for them in the communal lounge and presented them with a cake.
“It was the best day of my life,” said Eileen. “We had a wonderful anniversary celebration. It was a joy to catch up with friends and relations and share our special event with them.”