A DOUBLE wedding has now turned into a golden anniversary celebration.
Two sisters who got married during a joint wedding have looked back on 50 years of happiness.
Margaret Shead and Mary Parkin say they have the love and support of each other and their husbands to thank for their long and happy marriages.
Margaret and Mary, whose maiden name was O’Donnell, are both originally from the Waterworks area of Easington.
They both met their future husbands about the same time and decided to tie the knot on the same day, after roughly a year to two years’ courtship.
Margaret, now 72, of Horden, said: “Me and my sister decided to have a double wedding – in those days it would be easier, to save money.
“We all hit it off and have been spending Christmas, new year and holidays with each other ever since.”
Margaret married George Shead, who was a miner at the time, and Mary wed Alan Parkin, an Easington Lane lad who was in the Army serving National Service.
The foursome tied the knot at the former Our Lady of the Victories Church, in Easington Village, on March 10, 1962, during a service officiated by Father Delaney.
Margaret and George had met at Crimdon Dene and Mary and Alan met during a dinner dance in South Hetton.
The sisters, who came from a family of 14 children, remember that the pair each had three bridesmaids.
Margaret’s bridesmaids were sisters, Anne Cook, Patricia Gibson and Maureen Ballantyne and Mary’s were their other sister Marie Dean, Alan’s sister Elizabeth Sheers and Mary’s workmate Audrey Pearson.
Margaret, is mum to Karen Robinson, 48, and Julie Staniland, 47, and grandmother to Richard Smith, Rebecca MacDonald and Grace and Joseph Robinson and great-grandmother to John Burgeon.
She said: “The two couples have always been close. We have probably lasted this long because of doing everything together.”
Mary, who worked at the Alexandre clothes factory in Peterlee, and Alan have three daughters, Lynn Lowes, 45, Allison Higgins, 46, and 33-year-old Nichola Warren and are grandparents to Helen and Jamie Lowes, Emily and Oliver Higgins and Erika and Owen Warren.
Alan, 73, who said he and Mary initially kept in touch as penpals while he was in the Army, added “support and love” were the key to a long marriage.
Alan, who lives with Mary, 73, in South Hetton, said: “We have been very close in the 50 years, pulling together, supporting each other and being there for each other.”
The two couples will spent yesterday celebrating their milestone anniversary at Chilton Country Club.