April Fools Day wedding was no joke for couple celebrating 60 years of marriage

Margaret and Bill Townsend mark 60 years of marriage on April 1

Margaret and Bill Townsend mark 60 years of marriage on April 1 - Credit: Bill Townsend

An Exmouth couple celebrating their 60th anniversary on April 1 have proved that a long-lasting marriage is no joke. 

Bill Townsend married Margaret on April Fools Day in 1961 after one of his colleagues joked he was a ‘fool’ to be getting married. 

Some 60 years later, the couple are marking the occasion with a socially-distanced gathering in front of their Oakleigh Road home on April 1. 

Bill, 86, who was a draughtsman at an engineering firm when he met Margaret, 80, said his colleagues, friends and bride all thought the idea of an April wedding was a great idea. 

He said: “Our mutual friends thought it would be a great day to be married and not only that it was Easter Saturday and the time to get a rebate from the tax man.  

“Margaret naturally thought it was a great idea as she had always dreamed of being an Easter bride.” 

Bill, who born and grew up in Devon, met Margaret, who grew up in Cornwall, when they were both working for an engineering firm in Plymouth. 

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Margaret made a chance visit to the drawing office print room where Bill worked and that sparked a relationship which is still going strong today. 

 Bill and Margaret’s real first date was on New Year’s Eve 1958 when Bill drove Margaret to Tavistock for the evening before taking her home. 

On the October 3, 1959, Bill proposed to Margaret near Burrator in Dartmoor. 

After their wedding, they continued working at the engineering firm in Plymouth until their daughter was born and Margaret gave up working.

In 1967 Bill attended Exeter University on a one year mature student’s course to gain the Post Graduate Certificate of Education to go into teaching design technology and Mathematics. By then they had their son. 

The family moved to Suffolk for Bill’s new career as a teacher in 1969 where Margaret became the owner and supervisor of a play group. 

Bill and Margaret returned to Devon in 2008 and both have become very active members of the Exmouth Chapel, 

They have arranged various cul-de-sac functions including an annual Christmas carol singing event. 

Bill said their faith and being able to say sorry is crucial to a long-lasting marriage. 

He added: “First and foremost is our faith in a living Lord Jesus.  

“We are both considerate of each other’s feelings supporting each other and never afraid to say we are sorry when we have upset one another.” 

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