Blind date couple celebrate 60 years of marriage

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A couple who met on a blind date when they stumbled into a nudist show are marking 60 years of marriage.

Barry and Patricia Freeman, of Swillington, inadvertently saw the saucy production at the old Empire Theatre on the first evening they spent together after being set up by Barry’s mother.

“I used to work at Sumrie’s clothing factory with Barry’s mum, and she suggested I went out with her son - Barry was doing his National Service and had just got back from Korea,” said Patricia, now 79.

“I thought he was a nice lad when I saw him, but I didn’t know if it would go any further. We went to the Empire and it was a nudist show! There was a lady with tassles on. It was a bit embarrassing - but I decided I would see him again and we’ve kept together.”

Barry was given just one extra day of weekend leave from the army to marry his 19-year-old bride at Leeds Registry Office in August 1956, and he had to return to his medical corps unit rather than go on honeymoon.

“Barry was demobbed, but then recalled for the Suez Crisis and was about to ship to Egypt. They were all set to go before it was settled and they were sent home.”

The couple spent the rest of their big day watching Doris Day at the Ritz Cinema, and enjoyed a wedding breakfast of kippers.

Their first home was on Harehills Lane and they went on to have two daughters, Pamela and Julie. Barry, 82, worked as a bus conductor while Patricia took jobs in retail.

“We’ve had our ups and downs - we are opposites really, but they do say opposites attract. We are both very sporty, and of course you have to give and take.”

The couple are keen cricket fans who often go to Yorkshire matches at Headingley, and also follow the Rhinos, while Barry played club cricket in his younger days.

They now have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and celebrated their diamond anniversary with a family party.

“I just can’t believe 60 years have gone by!” added Patricia.

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