Still together after 60 years: The postman who lost his leg to robbers and his wife who escaped a bomb

Jack and Sylvia Greewood, of  Burdon Crescent, Seaham, who celebrate their diamond wedding on March 26th.
Jack and Sylvia Greewood, of Burdon Crescent, Seaham, who celebrate their diamond wedding on March 26th.
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THEY are still here – and still ­together.

As Jack and Sylvia Greenwood today celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss, they can look back on overcoming more than their fair share of ordeals.

Jack and Sylvia Greewood, of  Burdon Crescent, Seaham,  at their wedding and who celebrate their diamond wedding on March 26th.

Jack and Sylvia Greewood, of Burdon Crescent, Seaham, at their wedding and who celebrate their diamond wedding on March 26th.

Jack, 82, lost part of his right leg when he was shot by robbers during a raid on Seaham Post Office in December 1986.

During the confrontation, he grappled with the gang, before he was thrown on the bonnet of their getaway car and then shot.

Despite the efforts of medics, Jack had to have his right leg amputated above the knee and although he managed to get around with the help of a prosthetic limb, he never worked again.

He was given the Chief Constable’s commendation for the bravery he had shown during the attack at the office in Adelaide Row in his home town.

I went to the hospital and was shown to the family room and told he had been shot in the leg.

Sylvia Greenwood

His wife Sylvia, 80, was just a young girl when she and her family narrowly escaped injury when their home in Garden Place was almost hit in one of the last Second World War air raids on Sunderland, when a bomb fell on a water tower near to the Empire Theatre and Dun Cow pub.

She had been filling shelves at Asda, in Grangetown, when a policeman turned up to deliver the news Jack had been injured and was rushed to the hospital by a colleague to be at her husband’s bedside. She recalled: “I was told by my manager to go to the office and to sit down, and I thought I had done something wrong, but then they said there had been an accident, but they couldn’t tell me if he was all right.

“I asked what and they told me he had been shot. It was terrible.

“I went to the hospital and was shown to the family room and told he had been shot in the leg.

Sunderland Echo - Tuesday 23 December, 1986

Sunderland Echo - Tuesday 23 December, 1986

“It had been the first snow of that winter and I think that’s what helped saved his life because it had been cold when he was on the ground and it helped stop him bleeding so much.

“Someone had put a tourniquet on him using a football scarf. He shouldn’t have even been in the office normally.

“We’ve had some great support from friends and family.”

Jack and Sylvia were later invited to the Queen’s garden party in recognition of his actions.

Today, the couple will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Jack, who now has Alzheimer’s and is cared for in the Cedar Court Care Home, in Deneside, and Sylvia, met when he was 18 and she 16 at a dance held at a church hall in Station Road and married four years later at St Aidan’s Church in Grangetown, Sunderland.

Sylvia, 80, who still lives in the family’s home in Seaham, said: “We’ve always been supportive of each other, and what I know is that there are more kind people in the world than villains.

“My advice to others would be never fight over money.

“If I had money in my purse, I’d give it to him, and if he had money he would help me.

“It’s all about sharing.”

Sylvia spent her career as an office and wages clerk at Northumbria Printing Works, in Holmeside, and Thomas Printers in High Street West.

The couple, who are parents to Jacqueline Stephens, 56, and Colin, 59, grandparents of three and great grandchildren of five, will host a party at Cedar Court to celebrate their anniversary.