'It was so cold there was ice inside the windows'
A DEVOTED couple who had a white winter wedding 50 years ago have celebrated their anniversary in the same snowy conditions.
Tony and Pauline Bardell, who live in Eaton Park, got together with their family on Saturday to remember the magical day, which had also fallen on the same day of the week.
They tied the knot during one of the worst winters in history, on January 26, 1963. Pauline recalled how cold it was when she changed into her lace white dress.
But her nerves and excitement had stopped her from feeling the chill.
Now aged 71, she said: "We had no central heating in those days. I remember there being ice on the inside of the windows."
The father of the bride had to get out the shovel for the wedding cars to drive up to the house and, when the bride arrived at St. John's Church in Longton, a blanket of snow awaited.
"The path was like glass, so my dad helped me and held the bouquet, while I had to hold my dress up," said Pauline.
"I recall my father saying 'Are you sure you want to go through with it?'."
The temperature was so cold that a homeless man not only sneaked into the ceremony, but also on to the pictures, smiling with the other guests.
The couple, from Kettering Drive, have two daughters, 43-year-old Diane Bromley and 47-year-old Jacqueline Wilson, and five granddaughters.
They became an item on a double date after Tony spotted the then 17-year-old Pauline with her father. He was working at the Midlands Electricity Board, situated next to Pauline's childhood home at the time.
They said their vows four years later when she was 21 and Tony was 24.
Despite the weather, Pauline said everything went smoothly on the big day. But she only recently discovered that on the morning of the wedding the band had cancelled and the men in the family had desperately searched for a replacement.
At one point during the day, Pauline, while dressed in her lace gown, was outside admiring the snowy view when two policemen drove past and said 'Has he left you already?'.
According to the Bardells, the secret to a long-lasting marriage is to be a team and to never go to sleep angry at one another.
Tony, aged 74, said: "We haven't ever gone our own ways. We have always done things together and been the best of friends." Pauline added: "We never let the sun go down on the anger."
The devoted pair owned an oatcake shop together for five years in Foley Street, Fenton.
Pauline then spent many years working at Ridgway Potteries Ltd.
Daughter Jacqueline is very proud of her parents. She said: "Fifty years of being married is a big achievement."
Pauline recalled how wonderful it was when she first met the man that she would spend her life with, saying: "After the excitement goes, you focus on being friends and lovers."
Daughter Diane said: "Dad gets his own way, but mum is the boss. We are very lucky. My dad has always brought laughter and fun and my mum is a best friend. They are always there for us."
The pair, who love to travel and visit car boot sales, admit that every couple argues, but say they are always quick to make up and are 'the best of friends'.