Exmouth couple whose love of opera brought them together mark 60 years of marriage

Brian and Barbara Hardiman on holiday, Picture: Contributed

Brian and Barbara Hardiman on holiday, Picture: Contributed - Credit: Brian Hardiman

An Exmouth couple whose relationship ‘blossomed’ after being partnered to dance together are celebrating 60 years of marriage.

Brian and Barbara Hardiman had hoped to hold a party for between 30 and 40 guests to mark the occasion, but that has been put on hold until the Covid-19 pandemic allows.

Brian said the secret to a long and lasting marriage is to ‘give and take much love and laughter’.

He added: “We both feel that to be best mates as well as lovers is the key. We have a good laugh every day - even if it’s over our misfortunes.”

Brian Hardiman and Barbara Richards lived no more than half a mile away from each other in Kidderminster when the two met as members of an operatic society in 1956.

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They were partnered up for a dance routine in Carousel and the romance blossomed from there.

Four years later, on November 19, the pair were married.

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Shortly after, Brian’s job meant they had to move to Devon and chose Exmouth as their new home.

It didn’t take long for the couple to join the Exmouth Operatic Society – now known as Exmouth Music Theatre Company or EMCo.

Over many years they performed in many shows playing leading parts and for a time Barbara was the choreographer.

Although they no longer perform, they are still connected to EMCo and were recently honoured to be made life members.

By 1970 they had two daughters who have given them many hours of pleasure having been kept together as a family by their love of sailing.

They had a 26-foot yacht and they lived on board most weekends throughout the summer months.

Brian was also an ILB crew member in the RNLI between 1970 and 1980 and The couple are still members of the Exe Sailing Club.

They now have three granddaughters. The eldest now works in London for a theatrical agent, the second has just got her degree in Broadcasting/Journalism and the youngest has just started a course at Leeds University Music Conservatoire.

Since retiring in 1999 they have done much travelling and have touched on every Continent – except Antarctica. This is still on their list if ever safe travelling becomes possible again.

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