A couple from Scarborough, who say they are just as in love with each other as they were when they got married, are celebrating their golden anniversary today.
Bryan and Barbara Sykes met in 1964 while working at the North Cliff Hotel. Bryan was the new manager and Barbara, who had moved over from Devon, worked as a housekeeper.
Bryan said: “We basically clicked. I was driving back from Southport where I lived and I remember saying to John Wilson [his managing director] ‘she’s rather special, isn’t she?’
“In those days you weren’t really meant to fraternise with management but John stood in the odd time so that we could go out. We both like music and dancing.”
Barbara added: “I’d spent 10 years as a secretary in an accountant’s office, decided to have a change and decided to try the hotel business, and within two years this tall, dark, handsome chap walked in.”
In 1966 Bryan was given the opportunity to take over the management of the Holbeck Hall Hotel. “The plan was to get married once I got my feet under the table”, he said, “and that’s what we did.”
The pair tied the knot in Higher Brixham, Devon, on 15 February 1969.
“It was so cold, it’s unusual to snow in Devon in February but we had no choice because in that business you can’t take time off in the summer.”
After the wedding, the couple settled down in Hunmanby where they lived until their move to Scarborough 20 years ago.
After working at the Holbeck for eight years, where Barbara looked after the floral arrangements, Bryan was offered a job at the Blue Dolphin holiday park where he stayed until he retired.
Since then the pair have been spending their time doing what they enjoy the most: travelling, dancing and supporting local causes.
“We’ve had a really, really good life, both together and before we met.”
Reflecting on their marriage and their life as a couple, Bryan and Barbara admit they were always on the same wavelength. They both decided they didn’t wish to settle down until they were 30 and both agreed not to have children due to their busy working schedules. Their bond, which is just as strong now as it was decades ago, is something others notice too.
“Strangely enough,” added Barbara, “wherever we go, abroad or away or here, people we haven’t even met before comment on the way we look together.”
To celebrate their milestone anniversary the couple are planning a trip to Devon to visit their godchildren.