Couple mark 60 years of marriage

James and Joyce Wilkinson
James and Joyce Wilkinson

A Daventry couple marked 60 years since their marriage on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya on Thursday, October 30.

James and Joyce Wilkinson, who live on the Middlemore estate, celebrated their special day with tea at Fawsley Hall surrounded by friends and family. They also received a card and message from the Queen to commemorate the occasion.

The diamond couple have three daughters: Susan,57, Gillian, 54 and Louise, 48.

James, who is 83, and Joyce, who is 81, met in Newcastle in the early 1950s. James, was brought up in Newcastle and worked as a police constable, while Joyce, who was born in Karachi, India, worked as a trainee with Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company.

James moved to East Africa in 1953 to join the Keyna Police Force, with Joyce joining him a year later.

James and Joyce, who both speak fluent Swahili, remained in east Africa for 10 years, by which time James had risen through the ranks to chief inspector by the age of 26 and superintendent commanding a police division by the age of 30.

James said one of their most memorable experiences was going on safari in the Masai Mara national reserve. “You would sleep just in a tent with a fire,” he said.

“During the night you could hear all sorts of things sniffing around the fire. You’d sleep with a revolver!”

After their return to Britain in 1964, James joined Schweppes as an area manager. They settled into their current home on Snowshill Close, Middlemore, 10 years ago.

“After our time in East Africa we have never much felt the need travel,” James said. “We have been all around the UK.”