A couple from Shropshire celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary have renewed their vows in the village church where they got married six decades ago.
Family members organised the surprise ceremony for Raymond and Margaret Cross, who are 87 and 82 years old respectively and live in Bayston Hill, on Sunday at St George’s Church in Pontesbury.
The couple got married at the church way back on September 13, 1952 – and returned to the venue almost 60 years to the day later on Sunday to walk down the aisle once again.
Mrs Cross said the event had been a wonderful surprise, with members of the family going on to have a party at The Brooklands pub in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, in the evening as the celebrations continued.
Mrs Cross said the church held particularly special memories for her, as she was christened and confirmed there, as well as years later getting married in the same building.
“There was quite a few in the church. It was a lovely surprise,” she said.
Mrs Cross added “It was lovely going back down the church aisle.
“The church has changed a little bit, but it is still a lovely church.”
The pair, who have two daughters Christine and Rosemary, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, have lived in Shropshire all of their lives.
Mrs Cross grew up in Plealey, while her husband-to-be spent his youth in Cruckmeole, with the pair meeting in the late 1940s.
“At Longden dance, we made friends, which grew into love,” she said.
“I’m 82 and my husband is 87 now. It is a lifetime really.”
Mr Cross’s working life included spells as a gardener at Shelton Hospital, as well as more than 20 years as the caretaker at Belvidere School, while
Mrs Cross worked in the school canteen at St Giles School in Shrewsbury.
Mrs Cross said there were no special secrets behind their success as a married couple.
“It is just give and take. It has been a happy marriage.
“We have had our moments, but it has been a happy one.”
When they originally got married in 1952, the couple could not afford a honeymoon, but their family have arranged for them to take a special holiday in Conway with their daughter Christine.
Catherine Griffiths, the wife of one of their grandchildren Michael, said all of Mr and Mrs Cross’s extended family had enjoyed the day of celebrations on Sunday.
“It was a lovely day and it was a lovely service.
“Margaret had told one of the grand-daughters they would like to renew their vows, so we arranged to do that for them” she said.
“Margaret had inklings because we bought her flowers to wear, so she had some idea. But she was quite taken aback.
“All we told Margaret and Raymond was we were going to take them down to a Sunday service. When we walked for a Sunday service, everybody clapped.”
Mrs Griffiths said that after the service, the party continued at the pub, with food put on by Mr and Mrs Cross’s daughter Rosemary.
Mrs Griffiths added that it had been brilliant to celebrate the happily married couple’s 60th anniversary in such a memorable way.
“It was very special and you don’t see it very often,” she said.