Pen pals celebrate 60 years of marriage

James and Elizabeth Cranswick.
James and Elizabeth Cranswick.

A couple who met as pen pals in the 1950s will celebrate 60 years of marriage on Christmas Eve.

James and Elizabeth Cranswick began writing to each other when Mr Cranswick was stationed in Egypt in the medical corps while on national service.

They went on to meet after he was de-mobbed and were married at New Sharlston Methodist Chapel on December 24, 1956.

It was a family tradition for Mr Cranswick as his parents were also married on Christmas Eve.

The couple, of Crigglestone, had two children, Colin, 57, and Ann, 54, and now have four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Mrs Cranswick, who was born in France and lived in Radcliffe, now part of Greater Manchester, was employed as an electrical engineer and later worked at Lawefield Lane school in Wakefield.

Mr Cranswick worked on the railways and went on to be a train driver, also serving as local chairman of rail union ASLEF.

His welfare work for colleagues on the railways led to him being awarded the British Empire Medal in 1983.

Mr Cranswick was also a magistrate for 30 years and a Labour councillor for the Calder Ward, which included Portobello and Thornes.