A COUPLE from Chatburn, for whom it was love at first sight when they met more than 50 years ago, are preparing to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.
Johann (78) and Joan Zant (77), of Ribble Lane, met at a dance in Blackburn, where Johann initially lived when he decided to move to England from his home in Vienna, Austria, in the 1950s.
One of his Austrian friends had got engaged to an English girl, and Johann, who was 20 at the time, decided to join his friend on making the trip to England in 1953. He had planned to stay just long enough to learn the language.
However, fate intervened when Johann asked Joan to dance and the rest, as they say, is history. He quickly fell in love with Joan and resolved to marry her and make England his new home.
And it was a similar story for his sweetheart too: “I remember the moment I first set eyes on him and then he asked me to dance,” recalled Joan, who is Chatburn born and bred. “It really was love at first sight.”
The couple went on to tie the knot at Trinity Methodist Church in Clitheroe and have two children John and Fiona.
For much of his life, Johann was a nurse at Calderstones Hospital, Whalley, while Joan worked at Lancaster Hosiery in Clitheroe and Brockhall Hospital at Old Langho.
Now the proud grandparents to Rowan, Alex and Sarah, the couple, who have enjoyed holidays to see Johann’s family in Austria as well as holidays to Spain and Germany, told The Clitheroe Advertiser the initial spark of affection has never waned.
“It was meant to be,” Joan added.
The couple will celebrate their milestone anniversary with a family get-together.