Meet the Melbourn couple celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today

PUBLISHED: 07:01 19 September 2019

Douglas and Rosemary Gatward married in 1959 in Melbourn. Picture: Courtesy of Jane Ryall

Douglas and Rosemary Gatward married in 1959 in Melbourn. Picture: Courtesy of Jane Ryall

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A couple, who have been prominent members of the Melbourn community for 50 years, are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today.

Douglas and Rosemary Gatward are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: Courtesy of Jane RyallDouglas and Rosemary Gatward are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: Courtesy of Jane Ryall

Rosemary and Douglas Gatward married at All Saints' Church in Melbourn 1959, and lived in Letchworth and Royston before settling in the village.

Rosemary, 82, was originally from Meldreth, and Douglas lived on Standalone Farm in Letchworth. They met at Bennetts Motors in Baldock where Rosemary was a secretary and Douglas worked as an agricultural mechanic.

Not long after they met, Douglas - who is also 82 - went off to complete two years' National Service - including 18 months stationed in Hong Kong. Rosemary said they kept in touch while he was away.

"When he returned, we saved up for a year and two months to get married," she said.

The Queen sent Douglas and Rosemary a congratulation card ahead of their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: Courtesy of Rebecca GatwardThe Queen sent Douglas and Rosemary a congratulation card ahead of their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: Courtesy of Rebecca Gatward

"It was a significant year so there are lots of 60th anniversaries happening now, including the opening of Melbourn Village College. We had our reception in the primary school, because the college wasn't quite ready."

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After they married they moved in with Douglas' parents for 11 months, while their first home together was being built in Royston.

Their first daughter, Jane, was born in Royston in 1962 and son Richard followed two years later.

The Gatward family moved to Melbourn's Chapman's Close in 1966, and second daughter Rebecca was born in 1970. They now have grandchildren George, Christina, Lily, Vanessa and Holly, whose ages range from 22 to 30.

They moved to their current home in the high street in 1972, where Douglas grew fruit and vegetables and kept chickens - Rosemary said gardening has been a "big part of their lives together".

Rosemary led All Saints' Playgroup for many years and has been a parish councillor, school governor and churchwarden. She said being involved in the community for so long has been "very rewarding".

The couple are still involved in the church, and Douglas also volunteers as a driver covering Melbourn for the Royston & District Community Transport scheme, something Rosemary said "keeps him busy - too busy at times!"

Family and friends joined them at the Pig and Abbot in Abington Pigotts for their 60th anniversary celebration.

As for the secret to their marriage's longevity, Rosemary said: "We have worked at our marriage and at raising our children, and it has been hard at times but we know we are very lucky with what we have."

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