A COUPLE who have been side-by-side since the Second World War have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary.

Gordon and Pam Clare have reached the rare milestone known as the original diamond anniversary - as the 60th was added when Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on her 60th anniversary of accession to the throne in 1897.

Mr and Mrs Clare, from Borrowby, near Thirsk, married on July 30, 1945, when she was 18 and he 20, after first meeting as teenagers at neighbouring schools when growing up in Bolton.

But the couple were met with some disapproval when they initially wanted to marry so, with the help of a supportive aunt, they eloped to Cheshire.

Mrs Clare said: “We ran away because Gordon’s parents did not approve at first because we were very young.

“We went to Kelsall in Cheshire because I had an aunt there who helped us.

“It was not long after VE Day, so the war was almost over but there was absolutely nothing to buy.

“I just had to take what I could get for my wedding outfit, and it was a shade of green.

“My aunt owned a restaurant and we were there the night before the wedding.

“It was exciting because we had run away.

“The village was so beautiful, I remember all the roses were out in full bloom.

“On the day of the wedding, at St Peter’s Church, Kelsall, everyone from the restaurant who had found out about it filled our little car with roses from the village.

“It was a tiny little Austin 10 and it was absolutely filled with roses.”

After the wedding, the couple went to the Shakespeare pub in Manchester, where Mrs Clare had another relative, for a reception.

She said: “I remember the ‘cake’ was made of cardboard.

“There was a little cake underneath it but I don’t remember eating any.”

The couple had a short trip to Blackpool for their honeymoon.

Their son David was born in 1946, with daughter Pamela born in 1954.

After serving in the Merchant Navy during the war, Mr Clare trained to become an engineer and worked his way up the career ladder to finally lead the commission of nuclear power stations across the UK.

After his final project was completed, the couple moved to North Yorkshire in 1983 to be closer to daughter Pamela and her three sons.

Mr and Mrs Clare, known affectionately as Nana and Tats, have three grandsons, Fraser, James and Alastair; ten great-grandchildren; and their first great-great-grandchild is due in August.

Mrs Clare said some of the greatest joys in their lives have come from their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She added: “They are wonderful, we are very lucky to have such a lovely family.”

Despite missing out on celebrations in 2020 due to lockdown, including the christening of their youngest grandchild Charlotte, the couple are looking forward to being able to see family and friends again.