Tributes to newlywed, 86

Wedding of 92 year old Margaret Dufty and 85 year old John Hind''at The Old Golf House Hotel, Outlane, Huddersfield
Wedding of 92 year old Margaret Dufty and 85 year old John Hind''at The Old Golf House Hotel, Outlane, Huddersfield
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Bridegroom John Hind - who tied the knot aged 85 last year to his 92-year-old fiancée - has died in Sheffield after nearly six months of marriage.

John and his sweetheart Margaret Dufty attracted national publicity after their winter wedding was featured in The Star last November.

Their big day was shown on the national and local television news, and their story graced the pages of a women’s weekly magazine.

“I am so glad we had the wedding day,” said Margaret, from Pitsmoor.

“We had such a good day, it was absolutely lovely, and John was thrilled to bits.

“We’ve got some beautiful pictures from the day, and memories.”

The couple both served as sergeants in the Army during World War Two, and met in 2007 through retired servicemen’s charity Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan’s.

Smitten John proposed for the first time within months.

“But I said no,” said Margaret. “I didn’t want to be humbugged.”

Romantic John persisted - and love won out when he declared his affections for all to hear at Sheffield railway station, as the pair met up for one of their weekly lunch dates.

“He came walking towards me calling out, ‘Margaret Dufty, I love you’,” she grinned. “That was that.”

The couple courted with trips by tram for meals and drinks, and eventually John moved in with Margaret, living ‘over the brush’ until their wedding.

They were transported to their ceremony in his-and-hers wheelchairs, decorated with ‘Just Married’ signs and tin cans, and were applauded as they walked down the aisle arm-in-arm.

John said at the time: “When we say we’re getting married at our age it certainly surprises people. They have a good laugh. But most people think it’s very good.”

John, from Darfield in Barnsley, had worked as an office manager at Darfield Main Colliery, English Steel and McAlpine, and during the war trained young men to type and take shorthand.

He had three children from his first marriage - Graeme, 55, Gillian, 53, and Gavin, 41, a sergeant major with the Yorkshire Regiment - and five grandchildren.

“He was an avid football fan too,” said Margaret. “He was a lifelong season ticket holder at Barnsley FC, and last year was the first year he didn’t get one. It was getting too cold for him to stand about shouting.”

The couple enjoyed meals out, visits to family, and attending the wartime Royal Artillery and Normandy Veterans associations of which they were members.

John, who had battled cancer, died on Monday at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

The funeral - next Wednesday, May 22, at 12noon at Barnsley Crematorium, Ardsley - will be attended by a veterans’ guard of honour, and the coffin will be decorated with the Union flag and John’s WWII cap and medals.

Afterwards there will be a celebration of John’s life in the Legends Suite at Barnsley Football Club.

Donations in lieu of flowers are welcomed for the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind and Blind Veterans UK.