'It doesn't feel like 60 years': Couple celebrate diamond wedding with tour of town hall and Wetherspoon meal

Jack and Hilda Chalkley

Jack and Hilda stand in front of an image of their wedding day in 1962 - Credit: Hilda Chalkley

A couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary by revisiting key places in their relationship and having a JD Wetherspoon pub meal.  

Hilda, 83, and Jack Chalkley, 82, who live in a retirement flat in Romford's Junction Road, commemorated being married for 60 years on March 24, when they also received a congratulatory card from the Queen.   

Now parents to two daughters, the couple met in 1960 when they both worked at a printers in Clerkenwell.  

Two years later they got married in Hackney Town Hall, where they returned on their special day with family.  

Hilda and Jack outside Hackney Town Hall

Jack and Hilda had a picture taken outside Hackney Town Hall where they began life as a married couple 60 years ago. - Credit: Hilda Chalkley

Hilda said: “We had a real shoestring wedding but it didn’t matter because we had all our family around us and my parents made a meal for everybody so it was lovely.   

“I always said if we get to our 60th we’ll go back to Hackney Town Hall and have our picture taken on the steps again.  

“All the staff were brilliant and even took us into the registry room where we got married." 

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Hilda said Jack “loves his Wetherspoons” so, after pictures, they headed to one for a meal.  

They also found time to have a drink in Victoria Park, where they used to go when they were courting.   

Prior to this, on March 20, they had a party with family and friends at the Papillon restaurant in Chigwell, where they were surprised to find a photo of their wedding day blown up on the wall.  

The couple firstly lived together Yorkton Street, before moving to Shoreditch and then into their own house in Newbury Park and then to their current home in Romford. 

They have had many jobs over the years, with Jack starting at The Sun newspaper before setting up a wine bar in Gants Hill and then becoming an entertainer. Hilda, meanwhile, ran a shop in Redbridge Sports Centre.

The active pair still play golf and bowls together - and for around 25 years, ran line dancing in Romford.  

Hilda and Jack raise a glass

The couple with their card from the Queen in a JD Wetherspoon pub on their diamond wedding anniversary. - Credit: Hilda Chalkley

Hilda said: “I can’t believe where those years have gone, it doesn't feel like 60 years.  

“My grandchildren never treat us as being old people. Just before Covid, we were all sitting in Romford Yates with about 10 pornstar martinis because they had a three for one deal.”  

She added: “Life hasn’t always been easy but you just support each other.   

“It doesn't matter what you’ve got - the most important thing is family.”