“JEAN loved dancing, she never danced with me hardly at all! We danced at our wedding, and at our son Geoffrey’s wedding and I think that was it!”

The seeds for the secrets of Peter and Jean Thorpe’s 60-year marriage may not have been sown on the dancefloor of the De Grey Rooms in St Leonard’s Place, which she and her friends graced, but the foundations of their lives spent together in York were built around each of their large families.

They both put their happiness down to being best friends and just really liking each other.

York Press: Christmas 1962Christmas 1962 (Image: Peter and Jean Thorpe)

Peter, who is 83 today (September 22), had six brother and two sisters and Jean, 79, had five sisters and three brothers.

Looking back now ahead of a diamond wedding celebration in the grounds of Sir John Hunt Memorial Homes where they live, Jean remembered the first time when her family moved to Crombie Avenue, which backed onto Kingsway North where Peter lived.

Jean said: “Their garden sort of joined our garden.

“It was me that noticed him from our landing window - he was just so good looking.”

York Press: The couple were married at on August 31, 1963 at St Philip and St James Church in Clifton, now Clifton Parish ChurchThe couple were married at on August 31, 1963 at St Philip and St James Church in Clifton, now Clifton Parish Church (Image: Supplied)

Jean engineered a meeting via her sister Ann, who was going out with Peter’s brother Richard.

She asked them to bring him back from The Imperial in Crichton Avenue for a coffee.

Ann and Richard were also to be married to each other.

York Press: The reception was held in the local scout hut.The reception was held in the local scout hut. (Image: Supplied)

Jean said: “When we got together, Peter had a lovely circle of friends that he was apprenticed with and we used to meet in town.

“We’d sometimes go to the theatre and then off to Thomas’ Wine Bar.”

Peter was starting out bricklaying with Sorrells and stayed in and around the trade for most of his working life, moving on to Wimpey housebuilders.

Jean had just started at Rowntrees when the couple first met and then worked at Gansolite and her final role before retirement was as a care assistant in nursing homes.

The couple’s wedding was on August 31, 1963 at St Philip and St James Church in Clifton, now Clifton Parish Church.

Three of Jean’s sisters, Sandra, Susan and Diane were her bridesmaids and Peter’s brother Michael was his best man.

Jean’s wedding dress cost her 21 guineas at a time when she was earning four pounds per week. She said she couldn’t afford the nine guinea veil which accompanied it.

The wedding reception was at a scout hut 200 yards away on Water Lane and their marital home was in Ash Street off Poppleton Road.

The couple and their friends took it in turns to make supper at their homes and the groups would all get together to play the card game Newmarket.

The couple had two boys, Geoffrey and Stephen, and have a granddaughter Hannah and two grandsons - Owen and Adam.

Owen is a joiner and his latest job in Hessay was next to a shop where his grandad had embedded his initials and a date after building it.

Jean kept up the dancing with her sisters or friends and Peter enjoyed competitive bowls and playing snooker at Heworth Conservative Club and took up golf after retirement.

He also enjoyed football but Jean not so much, remembering a trip to Bootham Crescent to see York City.

She said: “He said I showed him up because half-way through I said ‘which side’s ours?’, I was absolutely bored stiff.

“I’d go and watch the grandchildren play any day but not professionals.”

Son Geoffrey emigrated to Australia in 2006 and Peter and Jean have been over to see him and the family in Perth many times since their son was married in 2007.

Peter and Jean celebrated with their friends on the occasion of their diamond wedding anniversary and Geoffrey is flying over in time for a celebration tomorrow (Saturday, September 23).

It co-incides with Peter’s birthday the day before and around 75 people are expected in the hall at Sir John Hunt Memorial Homes.

Peter’s brother and best man Michael will be there, along with sisters Molly and Margaret.

Jean’s sister Sandra, Carol, Diane will also be there and brother Brian.

No word on whether there will be a third dance in 60 years between the very happy couple…