An unexpected anniversary. . .

THE investigation into John and Anne Darwin comes just weeks before the couple's 34th wedding anniversary.

The pair enjoyed a festive marriage at St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, in Blackhall, on December 22, 1973.

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Their marriage certificate describes John as a schoolteacher and his bride, previously known as Anne Stephenson, as a secretary.

A wedding report in the Mail days later offers further clues to their background.

It describes John as working at English Martyrs School, in Leadgate, near Consett, and Anne at Hartlepool printing firm William Barlow and Son.

The report adds: "Given in marriage by her father, the bride was in white lace, with a bridal veil and head dress, and carried a bouquet of red roses."

By the time John Darwin disappeared on March 21, 2002, the couple had celebrated 29 years of marriage.

Now that figure is unexpectedly about to reach 34.

Exactly how they mark the occasion – or whether they will even be together – is unclear at the moment.

But it is likely that we will have a better idea by the time the anniversary arrives in a fortnight's time.