A couple who met at a dance in Helston have been stepping out to the same tune for the last 60 years of marriage.
On Saturday former Helston Town Band musical director Edward Ashton and his wife Flo celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with family and friends at The Grove restaurant near Sithney.
Flo, who celebrated her 80th birthday just ten days earlier, said: “We had the most wonderful evening and the most marvellous food. It was a night we’ll never forget.”
The couple, who live in Trevenen Road, met when Flo spent the summer working at the Lizard Laundry, arriving on her 17th birthday.
She had responded to an advert promoting a “holiday with pay” and described coming to Cornwall from her native Yorkshire as “like going to Australia then.”
She met Edward, a born and bred Helston boy, at a dance held in the Godolphin Club and decided to stay in the area, only returning back up north for their wedding in Holmbridge near Huddersfield – the same place Last of the Summer Wine was filmed.
Flo took up various jobs, including waitressing at a cafe that later became Woolworths and now the Original Factory Shop, and working at Strike’s Net Loft in Porthleven. She also worked as a nursing auxiliary at Helston Community Hospital for 26 years – 20 of them working nights.
Edward, now 86, worked as a dental technician, first for Milne’s in Coinagehall Street and later in a private capacity, with Howard Pascoe, making dentures for practices all over West Cornwall.
He also played trombone with Helston Town Band, later becoming lead trombone for Camborne Town Band. Edward then spent 32 years as musical director for Helston Town Band, also overseeing Camborne at the same time for a period. During this time Flo was chairman of the ladies’ committee at Helston.
Edward set up the junior band and eventually saw them leading the children’s dance on Flora Day.
He was subsequently made a Bard with the Cornish Gorsedh in 1991, for services to brass banding.
Edward’s musical talents do not end there, however; a former choirboy at St Bartholomew’s Church in Porthleven as a child, he was musical director for Redruth Operatic Society for many years.
He also taught brass instruments at Helston Community College on half a day a week.
They have two children – son Lester and daughter Karen (Reynolds) – three grandsons, a granddaughter and one great-granddaughter.
Flo said: “We’ve had a happy marriage and got two wonderful children, and four wonderful grandchildren – what more can you ask? And they’re all very loving and affectionate; I feel very blessed.”