CHILDHOOD sweethearts have marked six decades of wedded bliss.
Irene Parkinson and Fred Osman, from Hylton Castle, met as pupils of Grange Park School in Southwick, and went on to become a couple in their teenage years.
Now Fred, who will be 80 on Saturday, and Irene, 79, have reached their 60th wedding anniversary.
They have received a letter from the Queen and will gather with 25 members of their family this weekend at the Grand Hotel in Tynemouth.
Fred’s sister Brenda Carmody, 63, who was a bridesmaid at their wedding at Holy Trinity Church when she was three years old, said: “They’re a loving couple.
“The family is very close, my kids are very close to them and their home is at the heart of everything.
Reaching their diamond wedding is phenomenal.Brenda Carmody, Fred Osman’s sister
“Reaching their diamond wedding is phenomenal.” After leaving school, Fred worked at Wearmouth Colliery as a pitman, before spending nine years with the Army, rising to become a lance corporal in the transport section, taking them to live in Germany and Singapore, returning to their home town when he left.
While he went back to the mine, Irene joined staff at Austin and Pickersgill shipyard.
They are parents to Nina Bowers, 41, Sandra Knowles, 55, Barry, 57, and Stephen, 59, and have 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.