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Sweet 60 for ‘Mr Liquorice’ and his wife

Tom Dixon (Mr Liquorice) diamond wedding anniversary.
Tom Dixon (Mr Liquorice) diamond wedding anniversary.

It will be sweet 60 for a Pontefract man this week who is known affectionately in the town as ‘Mr Liquorice’.

Tom Dixon - a descendant of one of Pontefract’s largest liquorice-growing families - marks his 60th wedding anniversary to his wife, Molly.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - 130714 - Press - Pontefract Liquorice Festival - Pontefract, England - Tom Dixon giving a talk about liquorice in the Pontefract area.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/AMGP.co.uk - 130714 - Press - Pontefract Liquorice Festival - Pontefract, England - Tom Dixon giving a talk about liquorice in the Pontefract area.

The pair have known each other since they were young, but it took a community dance for a young Tom to make his move.

The 83-year-old said: “We went to the same church, same youth club and same school but I think we were at a church dance on Baghill Lane and I asked if I could walk her home, and I think that was it.”

The couple married at All Saints’ Church in Pontefract - the first time a service had been held on a Thursday afternoon because it was the only time Tom’s family, who worked as fish merchants at the time, could get time off.

The pair enjoyed their reception at Wordsworth Cafe on Beastfair, a popular choice back in the day, before heading off on a three-day break to Scarborough where they stayed free of charge at Tom’s aunty’s boarding house.

They both worked at Wilkinson’s sweet factory on Ferrybridge Road, where Tom became the last apprentice liquorice boiler.

He later became a charge attendant at Northgate Lodge residential home while Molly looked after their only child, their son David.

Having long since retired from the home, Tom has since become a regular speaker about the liquorice industry in Pontefract and he even wrote a book about the town’s involvement with the black sweet.

He and Molly still live at the family home on Knottingley Road where liquorice used to be grown.

Tom explains: “I gave joined Pontefract Probus Club and they once asked me to give a talk about liquorice and my life and it escalated from there.

“I go all over now giving talks - I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I tell a good tale!”

Despite his dairy being full of engagements, and with three grandchildren and one great grandchildren to keep entertained, he will be keeping his calendar free for this weekend when the family will get together to mark his and Molly’s diamond anniversary with a party at home.