Betty Armstrong remembers well the advice from mum on her wedding day to Ray.
“She said if he goes out on a Friday night grab his shirt tails and go out with him,” said Betty.
That was June 3 1961, which was also Betty’s 21st, and the advice clearly worked because they’ve recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
The couple met as 17-year-olds when Betty’s friend persuaded her to come out on a double date and fixed her up with Ray.
“Usually in those days the boy was older than the girl and Ray told me he was 20. It was only the next year when I asked his mother what I should get him for his 21st I discovered he was only 18 and actually a month younger than me. I’ve called him my toy boy ever since,” said Betty.
The couple emigrated to Australia lid there for three years and loved the country. But, sadly, both their fathers died and Betty couldn’t bear to be so far from her mum and so they moved back to the north-east. Ray found plenty of work as a skilled joiner and Betty worked in insurance until they both retired within a few weeks of each other aged 60.
They celebrated their anniversary with a garden party at their home in Consett, attended by their three children Debbie, Christopher and Tanya, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
“It was a beautiful sunny day, the house was full of flowers we’d been sent and the icing on the cake was to receive a card from the Queen congratulating us both on our anniversary,” said Betty. “Now we aim to both live to 100 so we’ll get a card each from whoever is on the throne.”