A COUPLE who first met under a clock in Harrogate’s Royal Hall have returned to the spot to celebrate their diamond wedding and unveil a new timepiece at the theatre.

The family of Jim Alderson, 87, and wife Joan, 84, funded the new clock in honour of the pair, who met at a dance in the historic theatre during the Second World War.

Joan said she was standing by the clock, which was then to the left of the Royal Hall’s stage, when she caught the eye of a young soldier.

She and Jim shared their first dance that night, but with Jim posted to the Far East and Joan leaving school to pursue a career in nursing, it wasn’t until three years later that they met again at a whist drive and dance evening at Woodlands School.

The couple were married in June 1954 and went on to have four children; Elizabeth, Kevin, Jane and Sarah. They also have 13 grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.

Liz said a new clock seemed like the perfect way to mark her parents’ anniversary, after the original was removed during the recent restoration work. The couple, who live in Harrogate, both share strong links with the theatre.

Jim’s great aunt, Mary Elizabeth Alderson sang at the hall when it opened, under her stage name of Madame Goodall. Joan still works as volunteer usher at The Royal Hall and has appeared on stage alongside her daughter Liz, in various pantomime productions.

After the unveiling, the couple enjoyed a meal at Bettys tearooms – the location of their wedding reception in 1954.