Driving lessons set the wheels of romance rolling for golden couple

Golden wedding of Keith and Christine Gardner Burned Grove, Shelf.
Golden wedding of Keith and Christine Gardner Burned Grove, Shelf.

A COUPLE of teenage sweethearts were celebrating their golden wedding today.

The wheels started rolling for Keith and Christine Gardner when he taught her dad to drive while working for his family’s business, Northowram School of Motoring in 1957. She was 16 and he was 19.

“That’s how I met him and the rest is history,” said Mrs Gardner, now 69.

The couple married at St Bernard’s Church in Boothtown, Halifax, in 1962.

“It was a beautiful clear blue sky, a gorgeous day,” she said.

They enjoyed a short honeymoon in Blackpool before a longer break in Newquay in the summer.

“We didn’t have anything to start with. We had to work and get things as we could afford them,” said Mrs Gardner.

“We used to sit in and make rugs and save our money. We never really went out a lot like people do now. We’d stay in with our children.”

The retired couple, of Burned Road, Shelf, have a 47-year-old daughter, Julia, and a son, Andrew, 43.

They have six grandchildren aged 12 to 28 – Kelly, Daniel, Christopher, Charnelle, Sam and Max.

Mr Gardner, 73, took over his father’s driving school in 1975 and retired around 2005.

His wife worked in retail for much of her life. Both her first and last jobs were at Harveys, Halifax, and in between she worked at Northowram Garage, which was also part of the family business.

The couple will celebrate their milestone anniversary with family this weekend before taking a trip to Edinburgh together.

Their advice to young couples for a marriage as long and happy as theirs is to “work at things instead of just throwing the sponge in”.

“We have just been compatible and we’ve never really fallen out or rowed,” said Mrs Gardner.

Her husband added: “Patience is the key.

“We have been very happy and lucky to live together for so long.”