St Albans diamond couple met at Napsbury Hospital dance

Mary and Kenneth Neal celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with a card from the Queen and the original annoucement in the Herts Advertiser

Mary and Kenneth Neal celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with a card from the Queen and the original annoucement in the Herts Advertiser


A couple who met across the dance floor have waltzed their way to 60 years of marriage.

Kenneth, 92, and Mary Neal, 90, celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary recently, after meeting at a work party more than 60 years ago.

They were both at a staff dance while working at the former Napsbury Hospital where Mary was a nurse and Kenneth a laboratory technician.

Kenneth said: “It was her general attitude to things [that attracted me to her], she was very caring.”

They married at SS Alban and Stephen Church with a reception at the nearby Abbey restaurant, now NS salons.

The couple were given the royal seal of approval with a letter from the Queen, and will celebrate with 60 family and friends at a party on March 7.

Kenneth said: “It was very nice [to receive the letter], we’re going to do something special with it.”

Mary and Kenneth have lived at the same address in Sandridge for 55 years, raising six children there.

Mary said: “We love the countryside. I didn’t want to live in the middle of a town; there’s nice walks and countryside here.”

After retiring from their jobs, Mary a cook at Sandridge Infant School, and Kenneth a laboratory technician at Charing Cross Hospital, they are keeping busy in the community.

Mary helps clean homes in the area, and Kenneth does gardening for St Leonards Church nearby.

Asked what was the secret of a longlasting marriage is, Kenneth said: “Have respect for one another, don’t take anything for granted.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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