Clitheroe couple celebrate 60-year marriage

Diamond wedding couple Gerald and Connie Hillary, of Low Moor
Diamond wedding couple Gerald and Connie Hillary, of Low Moor
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Sixty years after their 
wedding, there is still poetry in Gerald and Connie Hillary’s marriage.

The couple, of Low Moor, are well known in farming and poultry circles, but Connie is also an avid writer, setting down every day’s events in her diary and sometimes putting her thoughts in rhyme, some of which has been published in magazines.

Gerald and Connie on their wedding day in 1954.

Gerald and Connie on their wedding day in 1954.

Her latest verse is about their 60 years together, and Connie intends to read it at a four-generation family party tomorrow (Saturday).

Gerald (81) and Connie (79) are both from farming families in Cumbria and were brought up accustomed to hard work and few luxuries.

The highlight for young people in those days was a village hall dance with a small dance band, and they would have to cycle there as few people had cars.

Gerald recalls: “If you fancied a lass you’d ask her to dance and if she didn’t like you she’d tell you to clear off, simple as that.

“If you got together with a lass you’d cycle to her home with her, and it could be miles in the opposite direction from your own village. You’d get home at about two or three in the morning and be up again for work at six.”

The couple were married on January 9th, 1954, at Isel St Michael’s, near Cockermouth. They moved to the Fylde for Gerald’s farm work, then to Gisburn Cotes Hall Farm, Sawley. Gerald worked for the Hargreaves family at Fields House Farm, Clitheroe, and the couple lived at Brungerley Cottages for 25 years.

After being made redundant, Gerald set up as a farming and walling contractor and taught visiting students from Myerscough College. Connie was his business partner, in charge of the books while also working part-time in various office jobs and as a receptionist at Bowker and Parrott dentists.

Gerald has been a life-long poultry breeder, judging at shows all over the country and serving as Ribble Valley Poultry Club’s show manager for more than 40 years before making way for son Andrew.

The couple also have a daughter, Sheila Bowles, and another son, Malcolm. Their eldest son, Stephen, died in 1998. They have eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and the family get-together will be on Saturday at the Copy Nook, Bolton-by-Bowland.