A diamond anniversary for couple

A FAVOUR for a friend more than 60 years ago was the start of a lifelong romance for a Hightown couple.

Monday, 28th March 2011, 9:06 am

Geoffrey and Angela Whittlestone, who have been married for 60 years, met at a sergeants’ dance in 1946 when Royal Engineer Geoffrey was stationed in Angela’s home town of Trieste in Italy after the war.

Geoffrey said: “My friend was supposed to take Angela and her friend home. But he said: ‘I’ve had too much to drink – will you take them home, Geoff?’

The couple stayed in touch when Geoffrey was stationed to Egypt in June 1947.

Geoffrey was one of four children born in Headingley in Leeds to two teacher parents. He said: “We were very much a Yorkshire family.”

He was enlisted during his architecture degree at Leeds University. After he was demobbed he finished his degree and then went back to Italy in 1950.

He and Angela were married at Sandal Parish Church near Wakefield on March 10, 1951, and lived near Sandal Castle.

Angela said: “When we got married I didn’t want to be in the newspaper. But three days later I was in hospital with appendicitis and I was in the paper then!”

They had two children, Paul, now 59, and Francesca, 54. Both children followed in their father’s footsteps and became architects.

Paul lives in London and Francesca lives next door to the couple in Clough Lane, Hightown. The family moved to Hull and Geoffrey, now 86, and Angela, 84, both worked as teachers, Geoffrey in architecture and Angela in needlework.

They then moved to London where they stayed until retirement, when they went back in Trieste in Italy to move into the house where Angela was born.

But Geoffrey said they decided to move back to England when they reached their 80s to be near their children.

He said: “We were very sad to leave but it was great to move next to our daughter.”

The couple now have four grandchildren, Emma, 30; Mark, 27, and Charlotte, 24, who live in London, and Chiara, nine, who lives next door.

Geoffrey added: “We have had a good life.”