FEATURE: Doncaster couples rekindle friendships - right in time for their 50th wedding anniversaries
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
And that is certainly true for one special group of friends from Doncaster.
The gang of 16 lads and ladies all used to hit the town together during the musical and creative boom of the 1960s and sure enough relationships soon formed.
They all got married in the same year – 1967 – but as the responsibilities of adulthood took over – work, children and moving away from the area – many of them sadly lost touch.
But they have all rekindled their friendships in recent years.
And this year the reunited group held a very special party to mark their collective golden 50th year wedding anniversaries.
One of the couples, Mike and Sue Newton, of Barnby Dun, expressed their sheer joy at reuniting with their old friends.
Mike, aged 70, a former training centre manager, said: “It has been really great to swap old stories and rekindle the friendships.
“The most exciting thing has been finding out what everyone has been doing during their lives.
“It has also been funny seeing how people have got older. Some of us have lost our hair and I remember the lads were all about seven stones wet through back then, but we are about twice that now! Me included.”
Sue, also aged 70 and a former shop worker, added: “It has been wonderful. You remember the old days but it has also been nice to hear about new things like their children and grandchildren.”
The group's initial coming together happened about 10 years ago when most of them gathered for the ruby wedding anniversary party for Mick and Adrienne Gannon at Wheatley Golf Club.
It was there that they reminisced about the old days and realised they should get in touch with the others and start up their friendships again.
Said Mike: “All the lads grew up on the Woodlands New Estate and when we got older we started going out on the town together.
“It was the 1960s and the nightlife was booming in Doncaster then.
"They used to cover the swimming baths at Waterdale with a wooden dancefloor and we all used to go.
“We saw the Beatles and the Rolling Stones there, it was an amazing time.”
Soon after the girls came onto the scene and they all started going out as a group.
They were all married within the space of 10 months in 1967.
Said Mike: “The year we all got married was non stop. It just fell at the right time for everyone.”
But he added the couples drifted apart in the coming years.
“It's how it goes. You get busy with work, have children and people move away to other areas.”
But since rekindling their friendships at the ruby wedding anniversary party in 2007, the group has got somewhat of a second wind.
Said Mike: “We meet up now and again and go for pub meals, trips away. It's really nice.
“We kept in touch with some of the couples through the years but at the ruby wedding anniversary we had not seen some of them for more than 20 years.”
And 2017 marks a very special year for all of them – their golden wedding anniversaries which they marked with a party in June at Mike and Sue's house.
One of the main topics of discussion was of course their offspring.
And there was plenty to talk about as the group has between them got 16 children, 35 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
One of the other couples Kevin and Jeanette Plumb, of Intake, described the party was “brilliant.”
Jeanette, aged 71, said: “It was nice to look at the old wedding pictures. They are in black and white of course. I used to have black hair but its white now so we laugh about that. “
Kevin, aged 73, added: “You remember why you were friends in the first place. Everyone really gets on very well.”
Mike urged other people who have lost contact with long-lost friends to get back in touch.
“It really is worth it. You never know, but maybe there will be another party for the next big anniversary in 10 years' time.”
All married in 1967
Mick and Adrienne Gannon, both aged 70, of Bessacarr – January
Roy, aged 71, and Bridget Groves, aged 70, of Rossington - March
Kevin aged 73, and Jeanette Plumb, aged 71, of Intake – July
Pat, aged 69, and Bronc Briggs, aged 73, of Crowle – July
Keith, aged 70, and Sandra Warren, aged 69, of Bentley – August
Mike and Sue Newton, both aged 70, of Barnby Dun – September
Pete, aged 71, and Lorraine Marshall, aged 70, of Bessacarr – September
Graham and Judy Cox, both aged 71, of Armthorpe – October.