Diamond date for caring couple

NRHN 03-08-12 BE 16 Diamond wedding couple, Mary and Ron Coates from Codnor.

NRHN 03-08-12 BE 16 Diamond wedding couple, Mary and Ron Coates from Codnor.

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A Codnor couple who first set eyes on each other at a Shropshire dance - are celebrating 60 years of marriage this week.

Romantic Ron Coates was not the world’s best dancer, but one night in a Bridgnorth ballroom in 1950, he asked Mary for the last waltz.

And two years later the couple, now of West Hill in Codnor, married at St Leonard’s Church in the Shropshire town.

Mary says a long-lasting love of the great outdoors has helped the couple reach their diamond year together.

She said: “Our faith and doing the same things, loving the same activities and hobbies has joined us really.

“We always went more or less together. We’ve lived a very good life – always on the go.”

When they met, Ron was undertaking national service with the RAF, and in his ten years with the force, was employed in various roles on the ground, from clerk to working in aircraft recognition.

During his service years Ron was a talented athlete, competing in several RAF cross country and steeplechase meets.

He later went on to train as a youth and community worker, which formed a career for most of his life .

Mary took jobs in shops and factories before also becoming a part time youth worker.

They went on to have two children, Nigel, 56, and Shirley, 48, and four grandchildren.

After living in Warrington and London, Mary and Ron moved to Codnor 17 years ago to retire and be nearer their daughter.

But it did not stop the active couple, who loved climbing and walking in the Lake District, from devoting themselves to volunteering.

Even now they still run a Friendship Circle coffee morning at the Field Terrace Community Centre, off Slack Lane, in Ripley, on a Thursday.

Mary said: “We had always been working with the youth before we retired, so we thought we would just carry it on with older people when we retired.””

Mary said she and Ron are both long standing members of the Salvation Army and have spent a