Pearl’s is a real life ‘diamond’ for hubby Eric

Eric, 82, and Pearl, 81, Swift, of Overton, Wakefield, are celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.
Eric, 82, and Pearl, 81, Swift, of Overton, Wakefield, are celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

When Eric Swift first spotted his future wife Pearl riding a “pushbike’, he knew he was going to marry her.

ow, more than 60 years later the happy Wakefield couple are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

A photograph of the couple whilst in Blackpool in 1956.

A photograph of the couple whilst in Blackpool in 1956.

Mr Swift laid eyes on the woman with “wide blue eyes” as they both cycled past each other in Cudworth, near Barnsley.

He said: “I thought ‘by she’s smart’ and I made sure I cycled down that road for the next few days after that.”

But it was at a dancehall one Saturday night in 1956 that they officially met.

Mr Swift, 82, said: “In those days when you saw two ladies dancing together you could tap them on the shoulder, part them and start dancing with them and that’s what we did.

“As we were dancing, I said ‘what did you say your name was?’ and she said ‘I didn’t say’. I replied ‘there are a few girls in here tonight with the same name’,” he laughed.

“It turns out she worked at the same underwear factory as my sister Lily and one day she turned up at our house.

“We made a date and we saw each other nearly every day.”

The couple, of Overton, eventually got engaged on a bus on the way home from a Johnnie Ray concert at Sheffield City Hall. Mr Swift, who was working as an apprentice at Grimethorpe Colliery at the time, said: “I said to her ‘I think we’ll get married’ and she said ‘it’s about time you asked me’ - it wasn’t very romantic I suppose.”

The pair were married in Felkirk Church when Mr Swift was aged 22 and Mrs Swift was 20.

After living in a colliery house in Grimethorpe and then Barnburgh, where they had two children, Glyn, in 1959, and Gary, in 1961, they moved to their current home, where their daughter Maxine was born in 1968.

Mrs Swift, 81, worked as a dinner lady at a school in Middlestown and Mr Swift was appointed as a unit mechanical engineer at Caphouse Colliery

The couple, who also have three grandchildren, one great grandson and a second due in June, will celebrate with family and friends.

Mr Swift joked that the secret to a successful marriage was “doing as you are told by your wife”.