Runaway lovers’ golden wedding

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A PAIR of young lovers who tried to walk to London to get married against their parents’ wishes celebrate their golden wedding today.

Margaret and George Stoker, from Easington Lane, were 15 and 14 years old respectively when they met at a dance in South Hetton, much to their parents’ frustration.

George and Margaret Stokes, of Thames Street, Easington lane, who eloped to London as their parents were aginst them marrying are celebrating their golden wedding on Saturday (10th Aug)

George and Margaret Stokes, of Thames Street, Easington lane, who eloped to London as their parents were aginst them marrying are celebrating their golden wedding on Saturday (10th Aug)

“It was love at first sight,” George said. “But they tried to keep us apart.”

“It was because I was older,” Margaret said. “That was a problem.”

Determined to be together, despite their parents’ reservations, Margaret, of Easington Lane and George, who was born in Murton, eloped.

“It was scary, we were just kids,” Margaret, 67, said.

George, 66, added: “It was a big adventure.”

After three days of walking and sleeping in fields, the pair had made it as far as York, where their journey came to an abrupt end.

“We had 7/6d to go away with,” Margaret said. “When we got to York, we were starving.”

“We tried to steal a loaf of bread and got put away – I was in an orphanage and he was in a cell.

“Our parents had to come for us the next day. The shop owner wouldn’t press charges when he heard what the bread was for.”

On returning home, Margaret describes how she ‘got a good hiding’ from her dad, and had to hide behind a door when both sets of parents ‘had it out with each other’.

“When we found out I was pregnant a month later, they couldn’t keep us apart,” she said. “We had to get married.

“My mother said ‘I’ll give your marriage six weeks’ and here we are 50 years later.”

Margaret’s parents borrowed £25 to pay for the wedding, which took place in St Mary’s Church in Easington Lane on August 10, 1963.

The couple had three daughters; Tracey, 49, Tina, 46, and the late Terry, who would have been 45. Their only son, George, is 41.

They also have 11 grand children and three great-grandchildren.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but we are still together,” Margaret said.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” George added.

“We’ve argued and fought.”

The cake for their 25th wedding anniversary featured a boxing ring as a joke, he said.

The couple will celebrate tonight with a party for 200 guests at Easington Lane Working Men’s Club.

It is an evening that will be particularly special as Margaret suffers from incurable blood cancer, which is being controlled with medication.

“When I was diagnosed, I thought I would never see this day, so it’s going to be extremely poignant that I get to be there for it,” she added.

“George has been my rock.”

“It was because I was older,” Margaret said. “That was a problem.”

Determined to be together, despite their parents’ reservations, Margaret, of Easington Lane and George, who was born in Murton, eloped.

“It was scary, we were just kids,” Margaret, 67, said.

George, 66, added: “It was a big adventure.”

After three days of walking and sleeping in fields, the pair had made it as far as York, where their journey came to an abrupt end.

“We had 7/6d to go away with,” Margaret said. “When we got to York we were starving.”

“We tried to steal a loaf of bread and got put away – I was in an orphanage and he was in a cell.

“Our parents had to come for us the next day. The shop owner wouldn’t press charges when he heard what the bread was for.”

On returning home, Margaret describes how she ‘got a good hiding’ from her dad, and had to hide behind a door when both sets of parents ‘had it out with each other’.

“When we found out I was pregnant a month later they couldn’t keep us apart,” she said. “We had to get married.

“My mother said ‘I’ll give your marriage six weeks’ and here we are 50 years later.”

Margaret’s parents borrowed £25 to pay for the wedding, which took place in St Mary’s Church in Easington Lane on August 10, 1963.

The couple had three daughters; Tracey, 49, Tina, 46, and the late Terry, who would have been 45. Their only son, George, is 41.

They also have 11 grand children and three great-grandchildren.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but we are still together,” Margaret said.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” George added.

“We’ve argued and fought.”

The cake for their 25th wedding anniversary featured a boxing ring as a joke, he said.

The couple will celebrate tonight with a party for 200 guests at Easington Lane Working Men’s Club.

It is an evening that will be particularly special as Margaret suffers from incurable blood cancer, which is being controlled with medication.

“When I was diagnosed I thought I would never see this day, so it’s going to be extremely poignant that I get to be there for it,” she added.

“George has been my rock.”