A SOUTH Derbyshire couple are celebrating 50 years of marriage which has seen plenty of twists, turns and excitement along the way.
Ken and Sandra Cliff married at St. Paul’s Church in Burton on March 28 1964. They first met in 1958 when Ken was 18-years-old and Sandra 14. Sandra was attending the Harlequins Dance Group in Burton and Ken had gone along to a party organised by one of her friends.
Ken says that it took a bit of time and persuasion before he was given permission by to marry Sandra. Both their fathers drank together and Sandra’s was quite protective of her.
He said: “I just think he was worried that I’d be the same in that I’d go out drinking after work and Sandra wouldn’t have a happy life, but we’ve both never been big drinkers.”
Unable to have children of their own, they decided to adopt. Their son Curtis was adopted in 1969 followed by their daughter Michaela in 1974. Curtis currently lives in Derby while Michaela has relocated to Blackpool. She has also given them four grandchildren – Wesley, Tamzin, Krocamie and Kimowe. The couple, who are both keen holidaymakers, visited places throughout the UK when the children were younger.
Ken said: “We enjoy travelling and going on holiday. Most of them have been around Europe to places such as Spain and Turkey but we’ve been to Tunisia as well.
“We went to Spain in 1964, and when we got there, there was only one other couple who were Geordies. We ended up becoming friends and we’re still in close contact with them now.”
They later moved from Stretton to Shobnall, where they bought a bungalow in Jennings Way, close to the canal. After six years, watching boats go by on a daily basis, they decided that it was time for their next adventure and sold up so that they could lead a life on the waterways.
Ken said: “We sold up completely and decided to buy our own narrowboat and sailed off into the sunset. We went all over the main routes in the UK and lived on the Thames for two years.
“We were based in the marina at Kings Bromley, but between April and October we would spend our time sailing around before returning for the winter.
Sandra added: “It’s never something we set out to do. It wasn’t until we lived by the canal that we really thought about it.”
Eventually life on the boat became too physically demanding for Sandra and the couple returned to life on land. However by their own admission, they could not sit still and decided to buy a motorhome to continue their tour of the UK, going to parts of both Scotland and Wales.
The couple currently live in a bungalow in Patrick Close, Linton where they spend time are still keeping themselves busy. Sandra lists her hobbies as music, reading and spending time in the garden while Ken is a keen golfer and they both even play the Tiger Woods golf game on their Xbox. They are celebrating with a meal at the Brookhouse in Rolleston attended by close friends and family.
Sandra said: “We have had a fantastic life together and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, nor would I change a thing.”