Life’s been a diamond time for busy couple

A busy life together has been the hallmark of happiness for a couple who have celebrated their diamond wedding.

When Mr and Mrs Bobby and Barbara Kaye married at Bridge Street Chapel in Todmorden on September 5, 1953, the bride was at work an hour before the ceremony.

Diamond wedding couple Bobby and Barbara Kaye, of Harley Street, Todmorden. They received a telegram from the Queen on their special occasion

Diamond wedding couple Bobby and Barbara Kaye, of Harley Street, Todmorden. They received a telegram from the Queen on their special occasion

“I had a shop at Walsden and put a notice on the door to say we were closing at one o’clock. Folk kept knocking on the door and I had to say ‘I’m getting married this afternoon!’” said Barbara.

Ever since then they have barely wasted a minute and for many years the couple, of Harley Street, Todmorden, played a major part in running one of the Calder Valley’s most successful football teams, Fountain FC, which drew on some of the best players in Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd playing in the Halifax Sunday League.

The couple met on what Bobby describes as “a kind of blind date” at the Olympia cinema in Todmorden. Both enjoyed watching films at cinemas in the area.

Bobby, who is 80, went to Castle Hill School and then Roomfield School before leaving to begin an apprenticeship as a cabinet maker at the Sutcliffe Bros company, moving to J. H. Sutcliffe’s when the former firm closed.

And he and Barbara, nee Scott, 81, married just weeks before he began his two year’s national service. “We were married on September 5 and went into the Royal Air Force at Cranwell in Lincolnshire on September 24,” he said.

After completing his service he returned to J. H. Sutcliffe’s and then worked in the joiner’s shop for Taylor and Company builders, of Littleborough. After a spell at Eastwood firm Halstead Bros, he worked as a self-employed joiner on building sites for a number of major companies like Redrow until he retired.

With a family to raise, Bobby also took on other work to earn extra money, being an ice cream man in the evenings for a while. He has been a member of the Masons’ Providence Lodge in Todmorden for more than 30 years.

Barbara was born and bred in Walsden and went to Walsden Board School and Todmorden Grammar School, leaving at 14 to work in The Emporium, a millinery and ladies’ outfitters in Burnley Road, Todmorden. She also worked at Barker’s bakers’ shop in Cross Street and in the canteen at John Tatum’s weaving shed at Nanholme Mill.

Then came the shop at Walsden followed by spells working at the White Hart pub, Astin’s bakers, the fish and chip shop on Stansfield Road, at the Bent Burger snack bar and on school dinners, before manning coffee and snack bar stalls in Todmorden Market. Barbara also ran her own stall in the market for ten years, selling frozen foods.

The couple have always enjoyed carvanning, including some continental journeys, and both have always loved sport, with Barbara having strong links to Walsden Cricket Club - her grandfather was club legend Frank Scott, after whom the village’s Scott Street, where the club’s ground is, is named. She also enjoys playing bingo.

With one of her sons, Martin, playing for Lydgate United, Barbara’s interest in football grew and she and then Bobby soon became involved with Jack’s House Football Club, which later became Fountain FC. In the mid 1990s they were Halifax Sunday League double winners before a player shortage brought the club’s time to an end.

The friendships with players from the club’s heyday have endured and many joined Bobby and Barbara’s family and friends at a celebration party at Walsden Cricket Club.

The team read like a “who’s who” of upper Calder Valley football talent for a decade, many Hebden Royd Red Star players, the dominant Halifax League Saturday side of the era, playing for Fountain on Sundays.

Including players like Martin himself, Richard Ingram, Des Lord, Andrew Cryer, David Whitehead, Mark Goldie, Pete Holmes, Colin Lambert, Jason Bailey, Daz Widdup, Michael Greenwood and Andrew Barker, the teams are all fondly remembered by Bobby and Barbara.

They also helped when the Todmorden Borough club became established in the new Millennium - Bobby built the clubhouse bar at Bellholme.

Barbara said: “We had some great times. When we won trophies they’d be dancing on the tables!”

The couple have seven children - Kathryn, Susan, twins Martin and David, Michael, Andrew and Richard - and have 12 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Bobby and Barbara always, and continue to, pack plenty into their days. Barbara said: “It has been hard work but we have had a busy life and a wonderful time.”