THREE South Lakeland couples who tied the knot at the same church on the same day have all just marked their golden wedding anniversaries.

Norman and Mary Dickinson, Harry and Jean Winstanley, all of Flookburgh, and Alan and Anne Akrigg, of Cark, were wed at St John’s Church, Flookburgh, 50 years ago.

Although the girls knew each other from their school days at Holker they said it was by pure coincidence they ended up there on the same day.

Mr Dickinson, 77, was the first to gain a wife when he and Mary, 76, said their vows at 11am.

The pair had gone on a blind date four years earlier to Ulverston ‘pictures’, and now have two sons, John and Andrew. “After we had been out a few times I knew it was love,” said Mr Dickinson.

They, like Mr and Mrs Akrigg, said the key to such a long marriage was ‘having a good argument now and again’.

Mr and Mrs Akrigg, who met at a young farmers’ dance in Ulpha, were next to say ‘I do’, at 1pm.

Mr Akrigg, 77, said: “It was only 18 months after that when we got married but I just knew. She worked at a sweet confectionery shop making chocolates - they were good,” he joked.

His wife, 73, said: “He could dance – that’s what caught my eye all those years ago. And we still dance today.”

They also have two boys and their eldest, Richard, was so close with the Dickinson’s son John that they were each other’s best man at their own weddings.

And on that 1963 day at 2pm, at the tender age of 21, Mr and Mrs Winstanley got hitched.

The couple, who have children Julie, Paul and Katherine, got to know each other when their siblings married, but it was not love at first sight for both.

Mr Winstanley said: “The first time we met I had a feeling that I liked her but she did not want to know me. If I walked in a room she walked out, but I managed to win her over in the end.”

Unlike the others, the 71-year-olds said they did not argue much at all.

“We do not really fall out at all – Harry is just so easy-going,” said his wife.

They all marked their 50 years with family and friends. “The only problem was we couldn’t go to each other’s parties because we were all celebrating ourselves,” said Mrs Akrigg.