As a former journalist, John Greenway has covered his fair share of anniversaries.
But now he is the subject of the story as he and his wife Joan celebrated their diamond wedding on Thursday.
John, who has been a clergyman for 45 years, was on the other side of the pulpit when the couple from Locks Heath renewed their vows at a service they attend at St Mary’s Church, Warsash.
Joan says: ‘We had a wonderful time, the blessing was so lovely. It was nice to be among the company of the church who were are so close to.’
The pair, both 83, met when they were just 16 years old at the youth club of St Matthias Church in Malvern Link, Worcestershire. They were married in the same church when they were both 23.
Joan remembers that their engagement party was curtailed by John’s journalistic career.
It was nice to be among the company of the church who were are so close to.Joan Greenway
‘John was working on the Evesham Journal and he was called to do a court case which went on through the night. He tried to get out of it but there was no-one else to cover it, so I had my engagement party without him. At least he turned up for the wedding,’ Joan jokes.
After starting at the Malvern Gazette, John worked his way from local papers to Fleet Street, where he worked for 10 years for the Press Association.
A highlight of his career was covering the court case regarding the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover at the Old Bailey.
Joan had a variety of roles at Boots the Chemist in Great Malvern before supporting John in his work with the church, which he joined aged 38.
The couple have three children – twins Rosemary and David and their youngest daughter Christine – eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They moved to Locks Heath after retiring to be nearer to Christine.
When asked the age-old question ‘what is the secret to your marriage?’, John is reminded of the first interview he did with a diamond wedding couple on his local weekly in Worcestershire.
‘During the conversation, the husband said in a thick accent “We live here together a 60 year, and never a cross word between us.”
‘I thought yeah, sure – but I didn’t say that, I said “What do you attribute that to?”
‘The wife piped up and said “It’s all give and take you know”, but then her husband spoke up and said “Won’t you shut up woman, I’m doing the talking”.
‘In my experience, I’m more inclined to agree with the wife than the husband,’ John jokes.