Champagne corks pop for diamond Belper couple

Chris and Ethel Hayward of Belper celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Chris and Ethel Hayward of Belper celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

Staff and residents at a Belper care home have raised a toast to a couple celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

Eighty-two-year-old Ethel Hayward and her husband Chris, 81, marked their 60th wedding anniversary in style by having champagne afternoon tea at Milford House Care Home in the town.

Belper Dalesmen Male Choir, of which Chris was a member for 20 years, also made a surprise appearance at the special’ party.

Sheila Barwick, care home manager, said: “The afternoon was so special.

“We were very proud to have organised for the Dalesman choir to entertain us all for the afternoon.

“The choir and their family joined us for a sumptuous buffet tea, where the happy couple were toasted with champagne and presented with a bouquet of flowers from all the staff at Milford House.”

Romance blossomed for the couple, who are Belper born and bred, while listening to a Billy Joyce Band at a a regular dance at the Assembly Rooms.

They were eventully married on a rainy day at St Peter’s Church on March 29 1958, followed by a reception at the Strutt Arms Hotel.

Ethel and Chris enjoyed a four-day honeymoon in London before returning to Belper. She and her husband - whose father was editor of the Belper News - have always lived locally.

Chris finished his career as managing director of a metal finishing company in Nottingham and Ethel was a bookkeeper.

As well as the tea party at Milford House, they celebrated their landmark anniversary with their family, including four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, at Horsley Lodge on Easter Sunday.

The couple say the secret to a happy marriage is to do things together.

Over the years they have been keen gardeners, with Chris even keeping bees. They also enjoyed caravan holidays and walking and at one point even had a sailing dingy and a tandem bicycle.

“We’ve had a busy life, we can look back on our time together and be really happy,” said Ethel.

Ethel drives three miles each day to visit Chris at Milford Care and is always quick to join in with the activities which take place there.