Morpeth coalminer Leslie Foster had a sideline working on the waltzer – but it was his head that was spinning when he first set eyes on the love of his life, Christina.
Within days of plucking up the courage to ask her out, Leslie told friends she was the girl he was going to marry and now they’ve just celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
“I was a miner at East Hartford Colliery but when the fair was in town I used to work on the rides,” said Leslie. “I was on the waltzer and spotted this lovely girl walking across the Market Place and thought I’d go over and say hello.”
Christina also remembers an instant attraction.
“I just saw this blond wavy hair, blue eyes and lovely smile,” she recalls.
The couple were married in Morpeth in 1962. Leslie left the pit for work as a roadbuilder and truck driver before becoming a council bus driver and then working for National Express.
Christina worked at an opticians and later an estate agent. They have two daughters, Sandra and Suzanne, one grand daughter, three grandsons and two great grandchildren.
They have moved around the North-East over the years but returned to Morpeth. Leslie retired 20 years ago and the couple have lived in their DAMHA cottage for the past 17 years.
Asked for the secret of a long marriage Christina, 78, says, with a twinkle in her eye: “never have a wrong word – just one continuous argument!”
She adds that the key is to try to see the other person’s point of view and Leslie, 84, agrees, “it’s about give and take,” he says.
The couple love nothing better than to spend a few days in York or a drive through the villages and towns of Northumberland or Durham.
“I always wanted to work as a bus driver and now in retirement I still love driving my car,” said Leslie, “I figure I need to do as much as I can now because soon no-one will be able to afford to drive.”
The couple’s 60th wedding anniversary was on March 24 – though Christina says the celebrations lasted a week.
“We had a blessing in the local Catholic Church which was lovely and have had lots of visitors. We had 22 family and friends over at the weekend and the weather was warm enough for us to go out into the garden which was really nice after lockdown.”