Golden couple renew vows for anniversary

Kathleen and Walt Smith
Kathleen and Walt Smith

The first couple to be married at St Mary’s RC Parish Church in Leyland have renewed their wedding vows over Easter – and the church also celebrates its 50th anniversary this month.

Kathleen and Walt Smith were keen to be the first couple to get married at the Broadfield Drive church when plans were put in place to build it 50 years ago.

On Good Friday, they celebrated their milestone anniversary, and renewed their vows on Easter Sunday.

Kathleen, 70, said: “We wanted to be the first couple to be married there because we knew it would be special, but we didn’t know when the church was going to be built.

“It opened on April 4 and we were married on April 18, so it was lucky really.

“Our photos were in the Leyland Guardian and we were in the paper again on our 25th anniversary. We thought it would be a nice time to renew our vows and our family was there to watch as well as the rest of the congregation.”

The couple met when they were aged 17 and 18 at Leyland Youth Club, and married when they were 20 and 21.

Kathleen, who grew up in Towngate and went to St Mary’s School, worked at Farington Cotton Mill between the ages of 15 and 21, and was a housewife after that.

She also helped out with the school dinners at St Mary’s, and has been involved in the church community too.

“We’re both members of the church,” she said.

“I’m part of the hospitality group and I serve the coffees on Sundays and organise the garden parties.”

Walt, now 71, worked on a farm in his youth before moving on to the Rubber Works and Leyland Motors.

He grew up in Preston and moved to Norfolk Close in Leyland when he was 14, and attended Worden High School.

After they were married, the couple moved into a house in Eden Street and went on to have three children; Neil, Angela and Nichola.

Nowadays, they live in Church Road and also have two grandsons and two step granddaughters.

They enjoy going on bus trips to Manchester and Liverpool, and working in the garden.