Pytchley couple celebrate sixty years of marriage but a bow tie nearly blew it

The couple were married on July 15, 1961

By Alison Bagley
Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:22 am
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:24 am

A couple from Pytchley who met on a day trip to Llandudno have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with family.

Keith Althorpe had been invited by his friend to join two cousins on the coach trip - one of the girls was his future wife Eileen, staying in Isham with family.

But with three years of courting it was nearly 'I don't' as Teddy Boy Keith turned up in a silver bow tie to the wedding ceremony against Eileen's wishes.

Keith and Eileen Althorpe in 1961 and sixty years on

Eileen, 79, said: "He's always been a bit of a joker. He said he was going to turn up in a bow tie and I said 'you better not' but he did anyway."

An unrepentant Keith, 79, said: "Eileen's older brother and I went and got the bow ties and I told her I was going to wear it. She told me not to but I did -we still got married."

The teenagers had continued a long-distance courting with Eileen living in Leverstock Green in Hertfordshire - nearly 60 miles away- seeing each other at weekends when she would stay with her cousin.

With help from his employer, farmer Victor Tarry, he was allowed to borrow his boss' car to drive to drop her home on Sunday nights.

The bow tie nearly landed Keith in trouble with his bride

After three years and many miles of travel, the couple married, finally settling in Pytchley with children Jackie and Ray. Keith worked on the farm for over 50 years, and Eileen as a PA at JR Billows, later Volvo Trucks, in Pytchley Road, Kettering.

Away from work the pair share a love of swimming and helped run the Flipper swimming club in Wellingborough for people with special needs.

Keith enjoys snooker, darts and golf. As well as playing indoor bowls and gardening, Eileen is a keen home baker, a skill she used as a member and secretary of the Country Fairs market held in the Cornmarket Hall in Kettering.

In retirement and through Covid the couple have been keeping fit with daily walks around the area.

The couple with their cake

The couple have four grandchildren Katie, Chloe, Robert and Grant and three great-grand daughters.

Her sugarcraft skills have been passed down to her daughter Jackie and the pair used to make celebration cakes in their spare time.

Eileen said: "Jackie made us a lovely cake. She's a top baker. We had a lovely day with cards and presents.

"Sixty years of marriage has gone so quickly, we don’t know where the time has gone, it’s only when looking at all the wedding photos we realise how long it’s been. "

Keith said: "If I lived my life again I think I would do the same thing again.

"I didn't think I would see this day, I had prostate cancer in 2002 and I'm still here. It goes to show if you catch it early enough you can beat it.

And the secret to a long marriage? Eileen said: "Everyone has their fallings out but we get on with it."

Keith added: "I do as I'm told!"