Leamington jewellery factory was the place where lasting love was crafted for diamond couple from the town

Maureen and Jeff Clarke will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow (Thursday June 17)

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:38 pm
Jeff and Maureen Clarke on their wedding day.

A Leamington couple who first met when they worked at the same jewellery factory in the town in the late 1950s are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary this week.

Maureen and Jeff Clarke met at Henry Griffiths in Tachbrook Road in 1958.

Jeff, who was 21 at the time and 84 now, was an engraver and Maureen, who was 17 and is now 79, worked in the factory's offices in the signet department.

Jeff and Maureen Clarke.

Maureen said: "We were both shy but it just sort of happened that we started going out together to the Lockheed dances."

Jeff was called up to do national service in 1959 and was stationed in Aldershot, Blamford and Germany between 1959 to 1961.

The couple got engaged in 1960 and were married at St Margaret's church in Whitnash on June 17 1961.

They lived in Dorset for a year in 1962 but soon moved back to Leamington when Jeff got a job working at Lockheed.

The first house Jeff and Maureen owned was a maisonette in Kennedy Square which was a new build at the time and their daughter Helena was born there in 1964.

Maureen said that they lived comfortably off of a £13 weekly income.

In 1967 the couple moved to the Eden Court block of flats in Lillington.

Maureen said they loved the views from their 12th floor flat which looked out over the fields to Offchurch.

In 1970 Jeff and Maureen moved to Charles Gardner Road and Jeff starting working at the Ford foundry.

He later worked in the stores until 2002 when at the age of 64 he retired a year early after he underwent and operation involving five heart bypasses at the then Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry.

In his retirement, Jeff was a volunteer guide on history walks around Leamington for the town council.

Maureen worked as a supervisor in charge cleaning staff based for Warwickshire Police based at the former police station in Hamilton Terrace for more than 40 years and received an achievement award from former Chief constable Martin Jelly 2016.

She retired to look after Jeff who has had macular degeneration and is now blind.

Blind Veterans UK has converted a room in the couple's house into an art studio for Jeff, who has taken up painting as a hobby.

The couple have two children, Richard and Helena,four grandsons, Jamie, Scott, Ryan and Liam and a great grandson Noah who turns one on Friday.

Liam turns 18 on Monday (June 21) and the family will get together for a meal to celebrate all of the occasions including their 60th wedding anniversary.

Maureen said: "We were supposed to have such a lot of parties but it's not happening like that now."

Of the couple's lives in Leamington, seeing the town change, and their long-lasting relationship, Maureen said: "It's been so interesting.

"Jeff remembers a lot, like the troops coming down Old Warwick Road and Union Walk during the Second World War.

"I remember taking shelter under the stairs during the Coventry Blitz.

"Man of the changes to the town have been for the best but there are other parts where you wish it was like it was back then.

"We used to be able to leave front doors open in the daytime but not anymore.

"Things don't always run smoothly when you are married.

"We don't have the same interests but we wanted to grow old together.

"We've been married for 60 years now and I wouldn't have wanted to have been married to anybody else."