Marking 60 years

It was a diamond celebration for this happy couple.

Tuesday, 21st November 2017, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:08 am
John and Dorothy Staals from Lytham celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on the 30th of November
John and Dorothy Staals from Lytham celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on the 30th of November

Dorothy and Johan Staals, who live at Cypress Point, Lytham, marked their forthcoming 60th wedding anniversary with a big family party – including relatives who flew in from across the world for the special occasion.

Dorothy, a former professional ice skater, and businessman Johan met when she was on holiday in Holland, in Egmond aan Zee, with her family.

She said: “My father did business with a Dutchman and I was there with my family and a friend of mine. It was only a small village and there wasn’t much for us to do.

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“The Dutchman said he would introduce us to a Dutch family, that’s how I met Johan and it went from there.

“Before we left, we were there about three weeks, he proposed to me.”

Dorothy came back to England and the couple married on November 30, 1957, at St Cuthbert’s Church, on Lytham Road, South Shore.

Then the pair moved to Holland and lived there for 10 years, during which time their son and daughter were born. Dorothy learned to speak fluent Dutch while in Holland and the children were brought up as bilingual. But Dorothy said she was “terribly homesick” and the pair came back to England.

Johan – now 87 – left a big business to start a new enterprise in the UK, which proved to be successful, before he moved into the property-building industry, setting up Henco. His grandson now runs the business.

Dorothy, now 82, spent nearly 40 years teaching rhythmic exercise classes – something she only stopped a few years ago. She has organised and taken part in many charity events over the years.

The couple, who have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, held a big family party, with relatives coming from Thailand, Spain and of course, Holland, to celebrate with them.

Asked what the secret is to six decades of marriage, Dorothy said she wasn’t sure there was one key thing.

But she said: “We don’t have a lot in common, but they do say opposites attract.

“We have different interests – he is a keen golfer and swims every day, I have always enjoyed dance and rhythmic exercise. But we have always got on well.”