'Truly wonderful' Kirkby couple celebrate 61 years of wedded bliss

A ‘truly wonderful’ Kirkby couple who met at a party in 1959 have celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:56 pm

Ninety-year-old James Lloyd began courting his sweetheart Doreen Smith, 85, in Kirkby while on leave from the Royal Navy.

Romance blossomed when James – originally from Shrewsbury – met his then wife-to-be through her sister, Marge, who was dating a friend of his.

The couple would become inseparable and married a year later in Portsmouth on March 5, 1960.

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Kirkby couple James and Doreen Lloyd have celebrated their 61st  wedding anniversary.
Kirkby couple James and Doreen Lloyd have celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

But the wedding had to be arranged quickly because James, who was an an engineering mechanic in the Navy, was due to be deployed to Malta.

It meant the only way Doreen could travel with him was if they got married – which left them with no time to arrange a photographer for their big day and the only picture of their wedding was taken by a relative.

After tying the knot, the couple soon returned to Kirkby to be closer to Doreen’s family where they would raise their children Sharon, Deborah and Kevin.

They are now grandparents to Amy and Helena Lloyd, while they have two great grandchildren – Jenson James Lloyd, aged 7, and two-year-old Minnie Holbrook.

James and Doreen Lloyd, right, on their wedding day in March 1960 - the only picture that exists of their big day.

The couple have enjoyed several milestones this month in addition to their wedding anniversary.

James celebrated his 90th birthday on March 16 while Doreen turned 85 four days later. Their grand-daughter Amy was also 30 on March 24.

The popular couple enjoy spending time with their family, although they have been isolating due to lockdown and are looking forward to a belated celebration when restrictions are lifted.

According to grand-daughter Amy, the sprightly pair keep themselves busy with James an IT gadget and puzzles enthusiast.

He regularly uses the internet and enjoys using FaceTime to keep in touch with loved ones, while Doreen likes to knit.

The couple are also known in Skegness where they had a caravan for many years.

Amy said: “I love spending time with them. My granddad has some great stories of his life and in the Navy. Their secret to a long and happy marriage is to never say anything you’ll regret when you’re angry.

"They are two, truly wonderful people. The family sends the biggest congratulations to them, we’re so lucky to have them in our lives.”