A surprise celebration to mark the golden wedding of a Riddings couple was held at the village community centre for 80 guests.
Former assistant editor of the Ripley and Heanor News Carol Gibbs (nee Thornley) and ex-Amber Valley councillor Graham Gibbs, 76, of High Street, Riddings, were married on Easter Saturday at St Helen’s Church, Selston, on March 25, 1967.
The couple hadn’t a clue about the party which was organised by their son Jamie and daughter Katie Crockett. They assumed they were going out for dinner after going to see an exhibition of old photographs at the venue.
Carol, 72, who worked for Johnston Press for 23 years, attended Selston Matthew Holland School, before starting her working life in the pioneering Boots Computer Department.
Then after her marriage she moved to Viyella at Somercotes supervising in the punch tape room.
While her children were young, she started out as a local correspondent for the ‘News’ and Derbyshire Times, but over the years her career snowballed from part-time reporter to news editor and then assistant editor at the Ripley and Heanor, before retiring at 60.
One of the highlights of her career in journalism was covering Princess Diana’s visit to open Riddings Community Centre.
A former governor at Riddings infants and junior schools, Carol loves travelling, walking, reading and being with her grandchildren, Bailey, Harrison and Alexandra.
Riddings-born Graham was a councillor for ten years in the early days of Amber Valley Borough Council, when all the urban councils of Heanor, Ripley, Alfreton and Belper amalgamated and came under one umbrella.
He served on several committees including Alfreton Leisure Centre and the Valuation tribunal.
He was chairman of Riddings infants and junior schools for many years and was also a governor at Ironville and Alfreton Parkwood schools.
After leaving Somercotes Boys School he worked for several firms including Somercotes-based transport firm Cundy and Stuart, also Vic Hallam at Eastwood where he served his apprenticeship as a joiner. He then worked for Somercotes Dairy Crest until its closure when he was 50, before starting his own window cleaning business.
Graham enjoys gardening, especially in his allotment, reading and holidays and being with their grandchildren and family.
Both Carol and Graham were members of Ripley and Alfreton Mencap Society for many years.
They also marked their 50 years of marriage with a Caribbean cruise, and agree the recipe for a happy marriage is caring and sharing and being true to one another.