Teenage sweethearts celebrate diamond wedding anniversary with family party

Alf and Lily Collier

Alf and Lily on their wedding day

First published in News

TEENAGE sweethearts Alf and Lily Collier celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their large family.

The Headington great-great-grandparents marked the diamond milestone with a meal on Saturday, June 29, and were even sent a card from the Queen.

The 77-year-olds, who moved to Oxford in 1971 from Ramsgate in Kent, first met at a swimming pool aged 13 when Mr Collier noticed Mrs Collier, then Lily Worton, travelling to school.

They battled with their parents to get married after having first child Mary Ann as teenagers and eventually wed on June 20, 1953, at Ramsgate Registry Office aged 17.

Mr Collier said: “It has been a good 60 years. We haven’t always agreed but we have always compromised.”

The couple have five children; Mary Ann, 61, Joan, 59, Dean, 58, Maxine, 54, and Gail, 52.

They also have 18 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Mr Collier worked in the Kent coal mines from the age of 15, eventually becoming president of the National Union of Mineworkers for Kent, aged 30.

He studied at Ruskin College in 1971, when the couple moved to Oxford, initially to London Road, Headington, then to Bernwood Road, Barton.

Mr Collier went on to work for the National Union of Public Employees, retiring aged 55 and also served as a magistrate in Oxford for 14 years.

Mrs Collier started her career in a rubber factory in Ramsgate and then after the couple moved to Oxford she worked in the kitchen at Ruskin College.

Mr Collier said: “We both worked very hard and never wanted to be out of work.

“We talk with our children if we are not happy with what they are doing. We have the right to say that we want to see them before they made any decision.”

The couple’s daughter Mary Ann applied for them to receive the card from the Queen.

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