Caravantastic!

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SEVENTY years of happy marriage are being celebrated by keen caravanners Jim and Edna Rawcliffe this weekend.

The Longridge couple, who previously farmed at Priest Hill, Thornley and who now live in Hacking Drive will be celebrating their platinum anniversary at the Alston Arms with family and friends.

Prior to yesterday's anniversary - February 8 - the couple had already received a surprise visit from the Mayor of Longridge, Coun Margaret Brown and her consort Mr Bill Pye and numerous messages of congratulation from friends around the town.

Both aged 89, the couple first met at the age of 15 at a dance at Claughton-on-Brock Village Hall and have never looked back since, marrying four years later.

They believe the secret of their long and lasting togetherness has been plenty of caravan holidays, which they are still able to enjoy, looking after each other and "give and take".

They love nothing more then hooking up the caravan and hitting the open road and last year they spent no less and four breaks in the Lake District.

Jim, who was one of three children born into a family in Goosnargh and Edna, who was one of a family of nine raised on a farm at Claughton-on-Brock married at St Hilda's Church, Bilsborrow and Edna says she can still remember the day clearly. "It was stormy and raining. But when we came out of the church the sun was shining.

"I don't know what attracted me to him really. I just took a fancy to him. And my mother approved and said he was a nice lad. If she hadn't we wouldn't be together now."

After their marriage the couple moved to a rented farm at Leyland and a few years later moved to Priest Hill where they lived and worked their mixed dairy farm for 40 years before retiring to Longridge 24 years ago.

The couple are the proud parents of Harry, 69, who lives in Blackburn and daughters Lilian, 63, Edna, 55 and Kathleen, 53 who all live in Longridge and 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, with another on the way.

Jim and Edna enjoy seeing as much of their family as they can and also have family members living in Australia and America.

They also enjoy keeping active and go to over 60s clubs in Longridge, Goosnargh, Chipping and Woodplumpton together with the blind club in Longridge every Tuesday - enjoying being sociable and chatting to friends and playing dominoes.

In the past Edna was a member of Thornley WI for many, many years and secretary for 12.