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Golden day for Heather and Lionel
A CRICKETER who took nine wickets in a Barford St Martin match and met his future wife the same afternoon is celebrating 50 years of marriage today.
Lionel and Heather Richards’ wedding took place during the big freeze of 1963, with thigh-deep snow having first to be cleared outside St Martin’s Church.
Now with four children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandsons, the couple are looking forward to marking their big day with a 1960s-themed party with family and friends at the Penruddocke Arms in Dinton, the same venue where they held their wedding reception.
Dressing up in ‘60s style, with stilettos and winklepickers, the couple have a jukebox for the event and a cake in the design of a record, with Love Me Do inscribed across it.
Mrs Richards, 67, said: “We share things and we have the same interests, we’re soul mates. “Lionel’s always put the family first – he’s worked hard for us all and always provided.
“I can’t say we’ve never had arguments, because we have, but we make it up and forget about it in no time at all. It’s usually only about silly things not the big things.”
In fact the only long-standing disagreement between the couple revolves around football teams, with Mr Richards being an avid Arsenal supporter and Mrs Richards a fan of Manchester United.
Beginning their married life in Barford St Martin, they later moved to Fovant for two years, returning to the village to bring up their family, and moving to Salisbury 18 years ago.
Mr Richards, 71, grew up in Dinton and started work as an agricultural engineer at George Drew Mechanics before becoming a tyre-technician with ATS, spending 38 years with the company.
After the children had grown up, Mrs Richards worked for Wiltshire County Council, beginning as a home help and later becoming a senior carer then a line manager.
Mr Richards said: “We have a close family and I take my wife a cup of tea in bed every morning – we enjoy going for walks, watching the soaps, gardening, a bit of decorating and, currently, researching the family tree.
“We can’t believe we’ve been married for 50 years.”