Their love match has lasted for 60 years

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GEOFF Barrett turned detective to pursue the girl of his dreams.

“I was at a football match and she was there with someone else. I asked around, found out her name and address and wrote to her, asking her out on a date. I knew she was the one for me,” said Geoff.

The audacious approach worked for Geoff and Barbara, his wife of 60 years, are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today.

Geoff and Barbara met when they were 17 and were married at St Peter’s Church, Hartshead, in 1951.

The couple live at The Ghyll, Fixby but are well-known in the Brighouse area through their involvement with local organisations. Church activities have always been an important part of the couple’s life and they worship at St John’s Church, Clifton, as well as being members of the music group there.

Barbara was brought up in Hartshead where her father was a corn and seed merchant and her family ran the village post office. Geoff lived in Smithy Carr Lane and went to Rastrick Grammar School before starting his career in banking.

“I was away with the Royal Navy for two years after the war but when I came back I resumed my job with the old National Provincial Bank in Brighouse,” said Geoff.

In the early years of their marriage, Barbara worked as a telephonist at Huddersfield Post Office and Geoff was progressing his banking career in the Bradford and Huddersfield area.

The couple have two daughters - Angela and Gillian, who was born during the five years that the Barrett family was based in Lincoln.

Moving back to West Yorkshire when the girls were young, Geoff worked at the Crossgates branch of National Westminster Bank before being promoted to his first managerial post at the Brighouse branch in 1970.

“As the girls grew up and we had more time we both felt it was important to get involved in organisations in the community,” said Barbara.

Geoff held a variety of posts with Brighouse Rotary Club before becoming president and was a member of Lightcliffe Golf Club while Barbara was an active member and later president of Brighouse Inner Wheel.

Both were keen fans of amateur dramatics and singing and were involved in numerous shows for Brighouse Amateurs. Geoff was long-serving president of the society, usually took on the task of promoting the shows and took to the stage himself on a few occasions.

“I came from a musical family and I was alright with the singing but as soon as I was required to dance or move about on stage, I came unstuck!” he said.

“We both really loved musicals and came to appreciate how much hard work went into putting on the shows. Rehearsals went on all through the dark winter nights but we got a lot of pleasure from being involved.”

Barbara was happy behind the scenes, helping with costumes, selling programmes and making teas and coffees.

Geoff was on the board of trustees for Holly Bank School, Mirfield, and Rastrick Grammar School, where he also served as governor, and, at the age of 83, he is a keen crown green bowler at Hove Edge Bowling Club.

The couple enjoy travelling and four years ago went on a special holiday to New Zealand.

They are celebrating their anniversary with a party with their family, including grand-daughters Grace, Bea, Rachael and Heather.

“Family life has always been very important to us and being involved in various activities helps keep you interested in life,” said Geoff.

“We have similar interests and love spending time together. After all these years we understand each other,” said Barbara.