IT WAS game, set and romantic match for a couple who will this weekend look back on 60 diamond years of marriage.
Love blossomed for Dennis and Paddy Tomkinson who met at a tennis club just after World War Two and today they put their secret to a long and happy relationship down to the fact that they are the “best of friends”.
Dennis said: “We met playing tennis, in Nottingham in 1949, which we both loved and continued for many years.
“It was a good place to meet and we fell in love, that’s all I remember now as it was such a long time ago.”
The couple, who have lived in the Wetherby and Boston Spa area for more than 30 years, married two years later at St Jude’s Church in Mapperly, Nottingham on 11 August 1951- when wartime rationing was still in place.
To celebrate their diamond wedding, Dennis, 83, and Paddy, 85, of Micklethwaite Grove, Wetherby, say they are looking forward to spending the day with 30 family and close friends.
“Paddy is my best friend, We are both pretty non-confrontational people and don’t argue very much, I think the secret of a happy marriage is getting along with each other,” said Dennis.
The couple, who have two sons, Christopher 57, and David 50, and six adult grandchildren, say that the family are very close.
Dennis, had a life-long career in the electricity supply industry in Nottingham and started married life there with Paddy.
After a move to St Albans in the 1970s where Dennis worked as Traffic Control Manager of the National Grid Control Centre, the couple finally moved to Yorkshire in 1978.
Dennis eventually retired and also gave up playing tennis after suffering a heart attack on the tennis courts.
Dennis said: “We have been through some bad years, but on the whole good years are what have kept us going.”
He added that a family tragedy brought the couple closer together when their daughter Judy died aged just four-and-a-half.
“It was an awful time, but I think it made us stronger as a couple.”
The couple, who renewed their vows ten years ago at the church they married in as part of their Golden wedding anniversary, are now happily settled in Wetherby after downsizing and moving from Boston Spa four years ago.
“We have everything we could possibly want here in Wetherby, we go to the theatre with friends and in terms of shopping and entertainment we are spoilt for choice. It is a nice place to enjoy our retirement.”