A couple who have been community stalwarts for decades have marked 75 years of wedded bliss.
Arthur and Betty Lanes have celebrated the milestone with a party for their family at their home in Eastlea, Seaham.
Arthur, who celebrates his 96th birthday today, and Betty, 95, nee Scratcher, met on The Avenue in Deneside, after Arthur joked Betty should try riding the bike he had seen her pushing up the bank.
He then masterminded an invitation to the family home after making friends with her brother and fellow churchgoer, the late Jonnie, as he pursued her affections, with the couple exchanging vows at the town’s St John’s Church during a snow storm.
As they married during the Second World War, there is no photo of their big day, with Arthur a new recruit with the RAF at the time.
He went on work as a wireless operator and moved on to become an instructor.
They are both very passionate about their family.Ann Lanes
Once he left the RAF, he became an insurance agent for the Prudential until 1970, when he spent his days immersed in sport and helping others discover and thrive through his own love of sport.
He was a well-known footballer in his own playing days and was a team member at Seaham Town Park Cricket Club and went on to coach the Westlea Spartans football side.
He also spent time sports coaching in southern Spain and took bowls lessons in the town park, scooping the 2003/4 Sports Personality of the Year for the North East for his work, attending the final in London.
Betty became a familiar face to many in Seaham as she worked in the harbour’s Co-op store and Walter Wilson’s shop in Eastlea.
They joined their children Ann, (Lanes) 68, and Malcolm, 64, among other family members for their anniversary celebrations.
Ann said: “They can’t believe it really. When they got to their 70th and had their blue sapphire, I said to my dad ‘What is it when you get to your 75th? and he said it would be a miracle.
“They are both very passionate about their family, not just us as their children and their grandchildren, but all their relations, and they have always taken great pleasure in seeing and spending time with them.”
The couple are grandparents to Malcolm’s children Suzanne, 31, and Daniel, 30, and Ann’s son Sion, 40.