Rugby couple celebrate diamond wedding anniversary back where it all began

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A Rugby couple celebrated 60 years together by going back to the church where they got married.

John and Patricia Wyatt met in 1951 when Maurice Britton’s orchestra played alternate Saturdays at the George Ballroom in Hinckley.

Lesley Smith, who became a well known Rugby estate agent, organised a coach to take the orchestra to Hinckley. There were spare seats available on the coach for people from Rugby.

This meant John was able to travel to Hinckley were he met Patricia. Thereafter he could only visit her on his bike to continue his courtship.

The couple were married on September 12 1953 at St Catherine’s Church in Burbage, near Hinckley.

To celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary, John and Patricia attended the service at St Catherine’s on Sunday.

Patricia said: “The vicar announced our celebration occasion and warmly invited us to stand in recognition. The congregation and choir applauded enthusiastically.”

John started work during the early days of the war at the BTH Co Ltd Rugby where he worked as a tool maker for 17 years.

He became a tool design draftsman and worked for 11 years at Armstrong Whitworth Coventry followed by 21 years at the GEC, Coventry.

John was a member of the Rugby Racing Cycling Club from 1945 onwards. He won the Rugby Racing Club’s novices five mile time trial, and was awarded a sugar basin after a cycling event on the Hillmorton recreational ground.

Patricia worked mainly in secretarial and accounts, firstly Sketchley Dye Works Hinckley and lastly Kaydee Packing, Long Lawford. She has been a Long Lawford parish councillor for more than 30 years and was an independent Rugby borough councillor from 2002 to 2006.

The couple have four daughters - Susan, Beverley, Diane and Julie - who each gained university degrees in maths, engineering and IT subjects after attending Long Lawford school, and Rugby High school.

They now have six grandchildren, Michael, Peter, Rachel, Alicia, Emelisa and Istasia. Patricia and John are members of Rugby Council of Older Residents who hold their monthly meetings on the first Thursday at Rugby United Reformed Church.