But despite two bouts of cancer, a heart attack and a hip replacement between them in the past decade, Clitheroe' s resilient couple Eric and Anne Musson say they feel extremely "grateful and blessed" to mark 60 years of wedded bliss.
Eric (90) and Anne (82), who have lived in the same house in Moorland Crescent since they were married in 1961, will celebrate the landmark Diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday, returning to their favourite eatery where they originally held their wedding reception - The Calf's Head in Worston.
Since celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary 10 years ago, Eric has beaten Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2012 and lymphoma in 2019. In fact, two years ago, doctors told Eric he either only had four weeks to live or he could stand the chemotherapy treatment. He also underwent a hip replacement in 2018. Meanwhile, well-known Ribble Valley author Anne, collapsed and suffered a heart attack in November 2011 and received CPR.
The couple first met in February 1960 at a cinema in King Lane, Clitheroe, during the musical Wild Violets. Anne's best friend, Nina Pickthall, who later acted as her bridesmaid, introduced Anne to Eric, who was in charge of seating.
In November that year the couple were engaged and in August 1961, they married at St Leonard's Church in Downham, with a reception at The Calf's Head in Worston. Eric worked at a printing firm called Jas Broadley Ltd in Clayton-Le-Moors, until retiring in 1994, while Anne worked at Clitheroe Trutex for seven years.
The couple have three sons, Michael, Christopher and David and two grandchildren, Harry and Annabel.
A keen cricket player, Eric was a member of Clitheroe Cricket Club and is now an avid follower of the sport. He is also an ex-member of Stonyhurst Golf Club.
Eric and Anne have been faithful servants of Clitheroe Parish Church. Eric was tower captain at St Mary's Church for 40 years, while Anne previously volunteered to tidy up the graves at Clitheroe Parish Churchyard,
Anne, a well-respected community stalwart, having volunteered for Age Concern charity shop in Clitheroe, is the author of "My Beloved Downham - A Childhood Memory". She wrote the A5-sized booklet 20 years ago and to date it has sold over 1,000 copies. The book takes a trip down memory lane and relives her life as one of four sisters who grew up in one of the country's most beautiful areas, which years later became the setting for the television drama series, "Born and Bred".
Speaking to the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times about her happy married life, Anne, who is a keen cyclist and loves the outdoors, said: "We've both had quite an eventful past 10 years. I suffered a heart attack and had to have a life-saving quintuple bypass surgery, while Eric was diagnosed with cancer twice, but we feel extremely grateful and blessed to be here today and ready to celebrate our milestone anniversary. As a little girl I have always appreciated little things and the word "blessed" crops up every day for me."
The duo are delighted to receive a congratulatory card from Her Majesty, the Queen. Anne said: "I have always admired the Queen. She has always been such a wonderful example of living life and to receive a card from her is just marvellous."
When asked the secret to a long and happy marriage, she said: "There is no magic formula. If problems arise then work through them to reach a mutual agreement."
She added: "We have a wonderful family and the past 10 years have been stressful with our medical scares, but we are positive people and feel extremely lucky to be alive today, continuing to enjoy our outdoor pursuits and spending time with our beautiful family."