Sunderland couple celebrate 70 years of wedded bliss

70 year anniversary of Joseph and Theresa Routledge
70 year anniversary of Joseph and Theresa Routledge
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A Sunderland couple have clocked up seven decades of married bliss.

The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary with a party for family and friends at the Pennywell home where they have lived for more than 60 years.

We have shared everything and we still share everything. We have enjoyed every minute and we still enjoy our lives together.

Theresa Routledge

Joseph, now 93, first laid eyes on Theresa -a sprightly 92 - in 1943, when she was queuing for an interview at Hardings Engineering Works in Gray Road.

He was already employed by the company and asked her out after she started working there.

They were married for years later in St Mary’s Church in Bridge Street. Their reception was held at the YMCA in Toward Road and all of the factory attended.

They subsequently had six children- three sons and three daughters, 12 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren.

Daughter Jacqueline Mulvaney said her parents had resorted to extreme measures to secure their first home together.

“After living with their parents in the early days, they moved to their first house in Rutland Street,” she said.

“They secured the house by transporting two chairs on a pram from Hendon to the house in Millfield and were first there to get their name on the tenancy.

“They have lived in Pennywell since the estate was first built over 60 years ago.”

Joseph completed his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner and worked at Pyrex before joining Doxfords Engineering in Pallion, where he worked for 35 years.

Theresa worked at Austin & Pickersgill for 13 years, initially in the canteen before moving to the shop when decimal coins were introduced in 1971, as she was easily able to calculate without the electronic tills.

“Every day they would go to work together and Joseph would meet Theresa at the top of the Pallion bank to go home together until their retirement,” said Jacqueline.

The couple have been busy since retirement, socialising with friends and family and participating in various activities - Theresa learned to swim at the age of 60 and until recently they enjoyed Tai Chi and regular sequence dancing, often five times each week.

Coach trips and annual family holidays to Wallis Holiday Camp in Cayton Bay, Scarborough during ‘Shipyard fortnight’ were a particular highlight and the couple are still members of the Sunderland AFC Senior Citizens Supporters Club.

Ardent supporter Joseph never missed a match when he was younger and saw Sunderland win the FA Cup in both 1937 and 1973.

One of their proudest moments came ten years ago, when they were invited to take part in the Queens Golden Wedding Celebrations at the Civic Centre 10 years ago.

For Theresa, there is only one secret to marital success: “We have shared everything and we still share everything,” she said.

“We have enjoyed every minute and we still enjoy our lives together.”