Family at the heart of diamond couple's busy life together

IN A lifetime there are moments that stand out and when you share these with your partner it makes them even more special.

Stanley and Norah Hollows, who celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary last week, have spent the last 60 years together and in that time they have brought up four children, moved into a house that Stanley built and had the honour of representing Todmorden as Mayor and Mayoress.

Norah first caught Stanley’s eye as they both travelled to work in Halifax on the bus but it wasn’t until they attended the same dance at Todmorden Town Hall that he asked her out. After dating for two years the couple married on July 30, 1949, at St Joseph’s Church.

They had their first two children, Michael and Susan, when they lived at Meadow Bottom, Todmorden, before moving into the house that Stanley built in 1963.

“I was lecturing in Manchester at the same time as building the house but I did have 15 weeks of holiday a year. I started at Christmas time in 1960. We had some good weather that Christmas but had two bad winters after that so I lost some time then. It took me three years to finish it,” said Stanley.

They have lived in their home on Beech Avenue ever since, with their four children, by then including Jonathan and Elizabeth. Stanley and Norah are also blessed with seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

“We have been incredibly lucky with a wonderful family, who all have a good sense of humour,” said Norah. “It’s all about family; it’s the most important thing.”

Seventy family and friends helped the couple celebrate their landmark anniversary at Todmorden Golf Club, where Stanley is a member. With dozens of cards, including one from the Queen, the couple also received a number of bottles of champagne to mark the occasion.

Serving his community as a town councillor was an honour for Stanley, who was born and bred in Todmorden. The couple served as deputy mayor and mayoress from 1986 to 1987 when Tony Greenwood was the mayor, and mayor and mayoress from 1987 to 1988 with Olwen Jennings as the deputy.

The couple enjoyed their time as the civic couple but things didn’t always go smoothly: “I remember one of our first engagements was a golden wedding but it wasn’t until we were nearly there that we realised we’d forgotten the chains so we had to go back for them.

“I was really proud to serve the town as a councillor for 12 years, being a Todmorden man, but it became too political; that was the main reason I left.”

Stanley was born in Todmorden and attended Castle Hill School and then Roomfield before leaving school aged 14 to start his apprenticeship in the building trade. In 1957 he attended teacher training college in Huddersfield for 12-months, and then Bolton for a further year, before starting his teaching career at Manchester College of Building, where he stayed for the next 25 years.

Following his early retirement from teaching Stanley started working for himself again as a specialist brick-layer and stone-mason, working mainly on barn conversions and farm renovations. He worked until an injury at work forced him to retire at 72.

Norah also worked beyond the official retirement age only giving up her hairdressing business, run from the family home for the last 45 years, last October.

Born in Warrington, Norah moved to Todmorden with her mother when she was only three. She attended St Joseph’s School until leaving, aged 14, to start an apprenticeship in hairdressing.

“After completing my apprenticeship in Halifax I started doing family and friends’ hair but I wanted to go out to work so I worked in Hebden Bridge for a while before starting my own salon here at home,” said Norah.

Sport has always played a central role in Stanley’s life; especially his sporting passion cricket, which he played until he was 58. During his cricketing career he played for Lumbutts and Todmorden’s first team for several years. He still plays golf several times a week. Stanley was also a member of St Joseph’s Players for twenty years

Norah enjoys having time to bake now she has retired from work and said the grandchildren love her chocolate cake.