Movies led to 60 years of marriage

Surprise tea dance party for Diamond Wedding couple Harold Sutcliffe and Jean Sutcliffe at Heath United Reform  Church, Free School Lane, Halifax
Surprise tea dance party for Diamond Wedding couple Harold Sutcliffe and Jean Sutcliffe at Heath United Reform Church, Free School Lane, Halifax

AFTER a chance encounter at Halifax Picture House, their love has gone on to span six decades.

Harold and Jean Sutcliffe met at the former cinema in Ward’s End when Mr Sutcliffe was on leave from his Army service in Palestine.

Harold and Jean Sutcliffe on their wedding day

Harold and Jean Sutcliffe on their wedding day

Mr Sutcliffe, now 85, can remember the exact date their paths first crossed - though neither can recall what film they saw.

“It was October 19, 1947. I went with my friend and Jean was with her friend,” he said.

“Then after the film had finished, I asked if I could walk her home - and she said yes.”

When Mr Sutcliffe returned to the Army four days later, the pair wrote to each other every other day.

“I still have all the letters he wrote to me,” said Mrs Sutcliffe (nee Hooson), now 81.

After he was demobilised, their relationship blossomed and they married on Saturday January 27, 1951, at All Souls’ Church, Halifax. Their honeymoon was spent sightseeing in London.

The couple have two children, David and Ruth, and three grandchildren, Stephen, Nicola and Laurence.

They are great-grandparents to Bethany and Oliver, and are looking forward to the arrival of their third great-grandchild in April.

The couple have lived and worked in Halifax all their lives except for the three years after the family moved to Durban, South Africa, in 1963.

Mr Sutcliffe’s career was in the carpet industry, initially as a loom-tuner and then rising to manager of the H shed at Crossley’s Carpets. Mrs Sutcliffe worked as a legal secretary at Collinson and Co in Harrison Road.

In retirement, the couple enjoy a hectic social life and are active members and fund-raisers for the Halifax Society for the Blind. Mr Sutcliffe is a member of the Old Crossleyans and Mrs Sutcliffe was in the Women’s Guild until it dissolved recently.

The couple also regularly attend Heath United Reformed Church, Free School Lane.

They celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary there with a surprise tea dance, surrounded by 90 of their family and friends.

“It was a very pleasant shock,” said Mrs Sutcliffe.

Asked for their secret for a long and happy marriage, Mrs Sutcliffe said: “You give each other moral support and you face what comes.”

Mr Sutcliffe added: “If you fall out, you come back in again very quickly. We’ve never had a serious fallout and we never will.

“I would marry her again tomorrow.”