Pontefract couple Peter and Margarete Birch celebrate sixty years of marriage

Peter and Margarete Birch who celebrate 60 years of marriage on April 2.Peter and Margarete Birch who celebrate 60 years of marriage on April 2.
Peter and Margarete Birch who celebrate 60 years of marriage on April 2.
Former soldier Peter Birch MBE and his wife Margarete from Pontefract celebrate their 60th wedding on April 2.

Former soldier Peter Birch MBE and his wife Margarete from Pontefract celebrate their 60th wedding on April 2.

Peter, 85, was a regular soldier who served with the Queen’s Own Hussars. He met Margarete, 83, in 1959, after returning from duty in the Far East.

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Margarete was at that time assistant manageress at the Elephant Hotel, Pontefract.

After a whirlwind romance, Peter once again had to leave for service with the Arab forces within the Aden protectorate.

During this time, they wrote to each other regularly and in April 1962 Peter proposed and they married in St Giles’ church, Pontefract, spending their honeymoon in Vienna, Austria.

Life was full of relocations as military life was in those days – including Germany, Ireland and a posting to Cyprus with the United Nations.

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Margarete said: “The challenges were being apart when Peter went off on his tours of duty.”

When they were in Cyprus they got caught up in the Turkish-Cypriot War.

Margarete and their two young daughters Erika and Alison were evacuated and flown to the UK while Peter continued his tour of duty.

Eventually, after a worrying period apart Peter returned to the UK where they continued their married life in Dorset.

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However, they missed Yorkshire, Peter was born in Knottingley, and they decided to buy a house in Pontefract.

Peter was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for his services with the United Nations in Cyprus

In 1978 Peter left the military and went on to work for the local government education department until he retired.

Today they enjoy their retirement spending time with their daughters, sons-in-law, four grandchildren and one great-grandson, regularly going off on holiday together as a family.

To celebrate their anniversary they are going to spend a few days in a Scottish castle.

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