John and Mary Honneyman, aged 81 and 79, from Darlington, are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this week and received a card from the Queen today.

They have three daughters and five grandchildren.

Having initially met in a sweetshop, John and Mary began courting as teenagers at 17 and 14 when Mary was working at a petrol station.

John brought his motorbike in and Mary accidentally spilt petrol all over the fuel tank.

"He can't have minded that much though!" said Julie Shaw, John and Mary's daughter.

The rest is history and the happy couple were married at St Thomas Aquinas’ Church in Darlington by Father Cleary on 23rd September 1961.

John was a draftsman for Dorman Long and Whessoe, before going into teaching.

He taught at St John’s In Bishop, Wellfield and Wingate and at Greenfield in Newton Aycliffe. 

Mary was was in the last year group to qualify as a teacher at Darlington College and was instrumental in setting up the Arts Centre in the same building.

She was the chairwoman of both the management and finance committees during the setting up and for the first few years of the running of the Arts Centre, whilst teaching at Aycliffe Village and then Red Hall.

Having lived in Dalton for many years, John and Mary now live in Hurworth Place.

Julie described her parents as both “lovely, friendly people who love life and loved to dance.”


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