A BLEARY couple who celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary on Monday say a ‘bit of give and take’ has been the key to their 60-year marriage.
Harold and Mary Culbert, who were married at Drumcree Parish Church in Portadown way back on April 9, 1952, received a letter of congratulations from Her Majesty The Queen, who herself is celebrating 60 years on the throne this year.
Sixty years together might seem like a lot to most of us, but Mary insists it has gone by quickly.
She said, “I don’t know where it has gone to! Time really does fly when you are raring youngsters, that’s very much what we found.
“There has to be a bit of give and take to make a marriage work for so long. Harold has been so good over the years, I just could not say anything bad about him. The bond between us has to be very strong, because we are still together after so long.”
The couple had six boys and one girl, but the eldest boy Harry, who lived in Killicomaine, died 19 years ago from leukaemia.
The couple’s six surviving children, daughter Iris, and sons Kenneth, Gary, Christopher, Glenn and Rodney, have gone on to lead successful lives. Indeed Harold and Mary now have an extraordinary 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Casting their minds back to that wonderful day in 1952, Mary remembers a touching, it not grand occasion.
She continued, “It was not a big affair in those days because we had very little money. Harold was 19 and I was 21, and the service was taken by the Rev Denis, I can’t remember his first name. It was not a big reception, we went for a few hours to a place in Portadown, near Bridge Street, close to where Wee Barney’s is now. We went away for three days after the wedding, but it was not Spain or anywhere like that! That was the start of our happy married life.”
The wedding was attended by Mary’s parents, and Harold’s mother, while Mary’s sister Jane came back from a new life in England for the day.
“My wedding frock was made by Mrs Jane McClatchey, and she also did my sister Jane McNally’s bridesmaid’s dress. Jane then married Mr McClatchey’s son Edward, who was Harold’s best man. My sister is 91 and she’s still alive.”
The couple lived initially in Tullylish, with Harold having been originally from nearby Gilford. They later moved to Tandragee and Ballinacorr.
Mary concentrated on raising the children, before later working part-time in the kitchen at Craigavon Area Hospital, Brownlow Swimming Pool and Tannaghmore Gardens.
Harold’s working life took him to Calvert’s in Bleary, a tarmac firm in Londonderry, and with the old Portadown Council in Bachelor’s Walk. He was also a caretaker in Drumgor. His hobbies included a love of bowls, fishing and cricket.
The couple used to enjoy shows at Portadown Town Hall, but although they don’t get out as much these days, they still live life to the full.
Mary has evem been out to visit son Kenneth twice in his adopted home of Australia.