Brackley couple mark 60 years of marriage

Eric and Marion Mansfield on their wedding day in Hitchin on January 2, 1953.
Eric and Marion Mansfield on their wedding day in Hitchin on January 2, 1953.

A tango around a dance floor led to 60 years of marriage for a Brackley couple.

RAF group captain Eric Mansfield, 81, and his wife, Marion, 82, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with family and friends on Thursday last week.

They marked the event with a church blessing, followed by lunch at The Sun Inn, in Hitchin, where they’d had their wedding reception.

The Mansfields, who live in St Rumbold’s Court retirement complex, were married at Walsworth Road Baptist Church, in Hitchin, in 1953.

At the time, Mr Mansfield was a young RAF officer stationed at RAF Henlow, waiting to be posted to Cambridge University to study engineering.

He met his future wife, Marion Byrne, at a village dance, and invited her to tango. Mrs Mansfield, who was working as a secretary, was quite shy, but agreed to dance.

Just a few months later, they were engaged, and four months after that they married. Throughout married life, the Mansfields travelled the world with the RAF to Italy, the US, Germany, and throughout the UK.

They have continued to enjoy dancing. Mrs Mansfield said: “My husband is such a good dancer, he made it easy for me to follow in his footsteps.”

The couple have two children, Russ, 57, who lives with wife Judy in Priors Hardwick, Warwickshire, and Penny, 55, who lives in Scotland with husband, Martin. Both children are engineers like their father, with Russ following his father into the RAF.

Mr Mansfield said: “Our long marriage is down to good communication and being able to come to an agreement about the important things.

Mrs Mansfield added: “Give and take in any marriage is essential. Eric gave me the confidence to achieve things I’d never have tried on my own.”