Diamond day for town couple

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A DIAMOND couple are celebrating 60 happy years of marriage.

Les and Rita Dougherty were married at All Saints Church, Stranton, Hartlepool, on August 8, 1953.

Rita, whose maiden name is Owbridge, has spent much of her life surrounded by men, as her mother Harriet passed away when Rita was just 18, she had no sisters and she went on to have three sons.

She says her only regret is not having a daughter.

But she still cherishes her daughters-in-law, Lynn and Diane, who are married to Rita and Les’s sons Alan, 59, and Martin, 47, respectively. The couple are also parents to Richard, 45.

Rita and Les, 83, who live in the Brierton Lane area, met at The Queen’s Rink, in Clarence Road, when Rita was 17.

Les was a railway worker and later worked at Hartlepool Steelworks.

Before starting a family Rita had a number of jobs including at the Cerebos salt factory, at Grantully Hospital, a laundry, The Queen’s Rink and the Siemens factory.

Rita, 82, said: “We have had our ups and downs, we have had our arguments, but anyone who says they never argue are telling fibs because you can’t always see eye to eye.

“But on the whole we have had a good life, I never thought I would reach 60 years.”