St Albans couple celebrate diamond wedding anniversary

Side by side of Bill and Anne Daughtrey on their wedding day and in recent times

Bill and Anne Daughtrey were married at St Peter's Church in St Albans on March 18, 1961, and are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today - Credit: Supplied by Leonard McMain

A St Albans couple are celebrating 60 years of marriage today (March 18).

William 'Bill' Daughtrey married Elizabeth 'Anne' Kirkpatrick at St Peter's Church in St Albans on March 18, 1961.

Bill and Anne Daughtrey wedding day March 8 1961

William 'Bill' Daughtrey married Elizabeth 'Anne' Kirkpatrick at St Peter's Church in St Albans on March 18, 1961 - Credit: Supplied by Leonard McMain

The couple met at the ages of 19 and 17 respectively in Southsea, Portsmouth. Bill, a local, worked down in docks as a pattern maker - a highly-skilled wood worker that made wooden models of castings for metal instruments such as taps. 

"Me and my friend were a bit bored one day, because there wasn't much work down in Portsmouth at the time. We went to the beach and there were these two girls walking up the promenade." 

Those two girls, Anne and her friend Janice, were in Portsmouth on holiday.

"I was shy and, I didn't know it at the time, but Anne was shy as well. My mate was quite pushy, and he spoke to Janice, and she told us to go for a long walk off a short pier!"

He explained that he'd received his wages that week, and, with his leftover five or six shillings, took Anne to the fair on the seafront in the hopes of holding her hand on the big wheel.

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"When I got home, my dad said 'You won't ever see them again', and anyway, Anne did write, and I wrote back to her and that's how it started.

"She would come down one week and I would come up here the next; we never had any money between us because we spent it all on the [train] fares."

Anne added: "It was a holiday romance that everybody said would never last, so we proved them wrong!

"We were only very young at the time and, looking back, I wouldn't have let my daughters do what I was doing!"

"I suppose we hadn't grown up properly by then, had we? Not looking at grandchildren and that.

After their courtship, the couple moved to Anne's native St Albans, where they have lived ever since. They raised their two daughters, Mary and Kay in the district, and are proud grandparents to Josh and Megan.

Anne and Bill Daughtrey

Bill and Anne Daughtrey are celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss today (March 18) - Credit: Supplied by Leonard McMain

Bill worked on the electricity board in St Albans, and Anne spent 11 years catering at Prae Wood Primary School, and also worked at a jewellers and Waitrose.

The couple originally planned to mark their diamond anniversary with a meal with family, friends and wedding guests at Flitwick Manor this weekend, but have rescheduled it for September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It's not the first milestone that the couple have had to shelve due to the pandemic. Bill celebrated his 80th birthday in May last year, the same day that the nation marked 75 years since VE Day.

Speaking of her parents, daughter Mary McMain told the Herts Ad: "I don't even know what the right words are!

"It's an amazing milestone to reach, especially nowadays. It's quite an achievement.

"They're a very strong couple. They have always been very supportive of each other. They've always backed each other and had their corner, if you like. As their daughter, I've always felt loved and secure, and they've always portrayed that. They've always given me that confidence and support. 

"They've obviously had their ups and downs like most people; in 60 years, you're going to. They've always seemed to weather the storms quite well and support each other in their decisions as well. It's been inspirational and I try and follow in their footsteps."