Sealed with diamond kiss

Glad tidings: Don and Cynthia Walker on their wedding day.
Glad tidings: Don and Cynthia Walker on their wedding day.
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DIAMOND couple Don and Cynthia Walker share an anniversary kiss, sealing six decades of happiness together.

The Sheffield pair married 60 years ago today, on September 8, 1951, at St Paul’s Church in Norton Lees.

Glad tidings: Don and Cynthia Walker seal 60 years with a kiss.

Glad tidings: Don and Cynthia Walker seal 60 years with a kiss.

Now parents of two, grandparents-of-six, and great-grandparents-of-three, they are celebrating their diamond anniversary with a family lunch for 12 – followed by a party for 98 friends.

Don, now 88, and Cynthia, 80, first met as children in Heeley, when he was 15 and she was just seven.

“I used to tease her something rotten because she had deep auburn hair in tight curls,” he said. “I used to call her Kinky – which had quite a different meaning back then!”

After WWII broke out Don was sent, aged 20, to Normandy with the 147th Royal Armoured Corps in the wake of the D-Day landings. Three weeks later his tank was blown up and his four comrades killed, he was captured, and he was taken as a German prisoner of war to the Stalag 4B camp near Leipzig.

His return to Sheffield was very emotional – three stone lighter, and deeply affected by his experiences, he turned onto his childhood street Kent Road to flags waving and banners fluttering which read ‘Welcome Home Don’.

Don and Cynthia rekindled their friendship and he talked her into taking him to a dance to show him some moves. “She fell for it,” he laughed, “because in fact I was quite a reasonable dancer really!”

Romance blossomed and after four years of courting the couple got engaged on Cynthia’s 20th birthday.

Six months later they were married – “at great sacrifice by me, as I am a red hot Unitedite and the Blades were playing Wednesday on our wedding day,” said Don. United won 7-2, and the couple were showered with confetti as they set off by train for a honeymoon in St Ives.

They started married life on Albert Road in Heeley, followed by 35 happy years at Norton Lees Square. Cynthia had to give up her nursing job – married nurses were not allowed then – and she and Don, a chartered accountant, had two children.

Son Robert, now 57, and daughter Helen, 55, went on to have four and two children of their own, and Don and Cynthia now have three great-grandchildren aged nine, three and nine months.

As well as holidays across the world, and good friends made through the Central United Reformed Church in Sheffield, the couple enjoyed 17 years of volunteering for the WRVS in the Weston Park Hospital canteen. Their efforts saw them elected Diamond Volunteers and invited to Buckingham Palace for a thank you party.

Now living on Abbeydale Road South near Beauchief the couple say “togetherness” is the secret to their marriage.

“We’ve always done things in tandem – ever since a day-long tandem bike ride to Morecambe when we were courting, which Cynthia’s never forgiven me for!” said Don. “But I think that’s the key – doing things together, with a bit of give and take.”