One of Horden’s best known couples have just celebrated 65 years of marriage – but things could have worked out very differently when they lost each other after their first meeting.
Peter Noble and Joan Wilding were teenagers when they met at a local dance. When it finished they arranged to meet each other outside to sort out a second date.
“We lost each other in the crowds so that was that – but by chance we bumped into each other a few weeks later and arranged to meet up again,” said Joan, 84.
They married on March 30 1957 and have three daughters, Theresa, Karen and Deborah, three granddaughters and two great grandchildren.
Peter, 83, left school at 15 and spent his working life as a miner in Horden and then Easington Colliery before retiring whilst Joan worked at the local school as a cleaner and a dinner lady.
“We’ve both lived in Horden all our lives but that dance was the first time we met,” said Joan. “I was brought up in one of the numbered streets – it was like a Catherine Cookson novel.”
As an anniversary treat the couple were taken by their family to Sunderland Empire to see the stage show “Jersey Boys”, which features music of the 50s and 60s.
“We both love the music of that era and really enjoyed it,” said Joan. “We’ve had some lovely gifts including ten bouquets of flowers – the front room is like a garden centre.”
The couple have lived in one of DAMHA’s homes in Horden for 15 years.
“One of my granddaughters is a district nurse and says everyone she visits knows me, it’s probably because we’ve both lived here so long,” said Peter.
Peter is also well known locally for another reason.
A keen footballer in his youth, he also played darts for the county and made the headlines when he appeared on Bullseye with his late brother Frank and they won through to the prize board. They scooped seven prizes including a TV, trouser press and a cooker and decided not to gamble.
“We had a good haul which we split. The prizes have all needed replacing by now, but I still have the tankard and Bully”, said Peter.