Tributes paid to Sheffield couple who died within months of each other after being wed 76 years 

Barbara and Hal Craine celebrating their 76th wedding anniversary last year
Barbara and Hal Craine celebrating their 76th wedding anniversary last year

Tributes have been paid to a ‘lovely' Sheffield couple whose love story lasted over three quarters of a century. 

Barbara Craine, aged 94, who lived for most of her years in Parson Cross, sadly died on January 7, just five months after her beloved husband Hal.

Hal in younger years

Hal in younger years

The pair first met during the Blitz whilst enjoying a waltz together on the dance floor at St Patrick’s Church at Lane Top, before their budding romance was interrupted by the drone of the air raid siren. 

That evening, Hal had travelled from Wincobank so accompanied Barbara back to her home on nearby Far View Road where they joined her parents in the cramped confines of their air raid shelter.

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Not put off, the young steelworker managed to make nearly as good an impression on his prospective in-laws as he had on Barbara, then just 17, six years younger then her new beau. 

Barbara in younger years

Barbara in younger years

Love soon blossomed between the pair who later went on to marry on June 6, 1942, at St Thomas’ Church in Wincobank. 

After marrying, they rented two rooms in Wincobank from one of Hal's sisters for six years before moving to a newly-built house in Parson Cross.

Hal, who spent 18 months in the RAF, later worked for English Steel, whilst Barbara spent the war years working for Ambrose Shardlow’s, a manufacturer of crankshafts for Spitfire fighter aircraft. 

The pair went on to have three daughters, and became grandparents, and great-grandparents four times over.

Barbara and Hal Craine on their wedding day

Barbara and Hal Craine on their wedding day

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Their daughter, Shirleigh, 56, said: “They had a typical relationship where the man went out to work, did the DIY, painting and handy work and the woman stayed at home and did the cooking. Mum liked everyone’s bellies to be full.

“They were both lovely, and all about family. Everyone said I was very much a daddy's girl. They will be missed by the whole family. We never thought mum would go so soon after dad, it was such a shock.

“It has hit the family hard, especially their great-granddaughter Kacii. She idolised them both and they idolised her. I think she kept them going.” 

Barbara with daughter Shirleigh, granddaughter Jennie and great-granddaughter kacii

Barbara with daughter Shirleigh, granddaughter Jennie and great-granddaughter kacii

The pair shared a love for music, with Barbara a keen piano player and Hal the organ and accordion.

They once appeared together at Sheffield City Hall, where they performed the ragtime hit Twelfth Street Rag, at a special concert for musicians working in the steel industry.

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Hal went on to sideline as an organist in working men’s clubs around Sheffield, working evenings and weekends, playing for the likes of Lynne Perrie, former Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn and cabaret star Marti Caine, all while keeping up the day job.

Shirleigh added: “They were so kind and selfless. They had a few friends, but their biggest friend was music. They were made of strong stuff and nothing was too much for them.

“Mum may have died from a broken heart. Everyone just keep saying that she has gone to be with him.”

Hal with great-granddaughter Kacii

Hal with great-granddaughter Kacii

In later life, Barbara was diagnosed with dementia, and would recognise family but sometimes struggled to talk and express her feelings.

Hal passed away at home on August 21, aged 100, after suffering a bleed in the stomach. 

The family are currently waiting on Barbara's post-mortem results.