Whirlwind romance began on the buses and lasts 50 years

Golden Wedding celebrations for Jack and Patricia Willis at Wadsworth Court, Pellon
Golden Wedding celebrations for Jack and Patricia Willis at Wadsworth Court, Pellon

A WHIRLWIND romance has stood the test of time as a couple celebrate 50 years of marriage today.

Jack Willis proposed to wife Patricia on their first date and they tied the knot two months later.

Now the couple are celebrating their golden wedding.

Mr Willis, 69, said: “We’ve had 50 years and if I could go back, I’d do it all again.”

They met when Mr Willis was a bus conductor on route 35 to Highroad Well, which Mrs Willis caught to work at Halifax Building Society.

“If there’s such a thing as love at first sight, that was it,” said Mr Willis.

“I fell in love with her the first time I saw her.

“We passed the time of day as I collected the fares and I got to know every bus she used to catch.”

The day he passed his driving test, he drove his father’s car to George Square, Halifax, where he knew she would be walking for the bus and offered her a lift home.

She accepted and he plucked up the courage to ask her out to the pictures. And she said yes.

Mr Willis said: “I was a bit slow coming forward, a bit shy.

“But it was the best move I ever made.” Unknown to Mr Willis, the object of his affection had also been admiring him from afar.

“She told me later that when I was in the Air Training Corps I used to walk past her house and she would admire me in my uniform,” he said.

The couple went to see John Wayne film The Alamo at the old Odeon cinema in Halifax.

“The theme tune for that is still our favourite – The Green Leaves of Summer,” said Mr Willis.

As they left the picture house, he proposed.

“I said: ‘Do you fancy being married to a bus conductor?’ She said Yes.”

Mrs Willis, 71, said: “There was just a certain chemistry between us and I knew it wouldn’t be there with anybody else.”

The couple tied the knot at Park Congregational Church in Hopwood Lane on December 9, 1961.They have four children: Carol, 49, Peter, 46, Ann, 43, and Christopher, 40.

The couple, of Miall Street, Pellon, celebrated their landmark anniversary with family and friends at the Barum Top Inn, Halifax.

Their advice for a long, happy marriage like theirs is to be content with what you have and put your spouse’s needs first. We’ve been very happy because we never try to keep up with the Joneses, that’s my saying,” said Mrs Willis.

Mr Willis added: “Consider your partner’s feelings and wants before your own. It works and oils the wheels of married life.”