Diamond couple John and Irene return to where they first met

John and Irene.
John and Irene.

Burgh le Marsh couple John and Irene Panton celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary recently by returning to Scarborough, where they first met at the Spa Ballroom.

Irene recalls the band were playing Some Enchanted Evening as John asked her to dance.

Irene, who came from Darlington, and John, who was born in Burgh, were married at St James Church, Darlington, on April 4, 1953 and they honeymooned in Keswick.

John taught at a boys school in Darlington and Irene was a comptometer operator at Bakelite. Later they moved to Lincoln and lived at Sudbrooke where John taught art at St Giles School in Lincoln and Irene obtained work as a comptometer operator at Bainbridge’s store.

During this time John also taught arts and crafts at Lincoln and North Sea camp prisons and he also took on the role of youth leader at Scothern, whilst Irene became involved with the Red Cross.

Eventually they moved to Burgh where John took up a post as art teacher at the former Skegness Morris school and once again he became involved in youth work. Irene meanwhile took up a post as receptionist to the consultants at Skegness Hospital.

The couple became involved with the parish church in Burgh, John as churchwarden, Tower Bell ringer and now Carillon ringer, and Irene as a member of the Mothers’ Union where she has held posts as Treasurer and Chairman and was also responsible for organising many of the annual outings.

John also served for more than 30 years on the Burgh parish council, which later became the Town Council and he has served terms as Mayor. Both he and Irene are founder members of the town’s Twinning Association, which was formed 25 years ago.

John served as Chairman of the Village Hall committee for many years and he started the former Arts and Crafts class, weekly lottery and Drop-in Centre.

He was a founder member of the History Group, which was formed in 1975, and served as Chairman from 1995. The Group is now known as the Heritage Group.

It is not surprising that John was awarded the BEM in 1990 for his services to Burgh. Having been born in the town Burgh has always been very close to his heart.

As well as being a gifted artist he also plays the accordion and can regularly be seen playing at the Parish church summer and Christmas fairs.

Both John and Irene were amongst the first to join the Barn Dance Workshop, which has been running now for a number of years. They are also involved with the community tea room. Other interests have been caravanning and walking and they particularly enjoy walks with their dog Lucy.

They have twin sons Jonathan and David, and three grandsons and one granddaughter. They were joined by all their family in Scarborough to celebrate their special anniversary and even returned to the Spa Ballroom for a dance.

The secret of their happy marriage can be summed up by Irene, who said: “We have always been happy and content in each other’s company”.