Stalwart country park volunteer celebrates diamond wedding anniversary

The longest-standing volunteer at a popular country park is celebrating his diamond wedding anniversary.

Don and Pat Bannister
Don and Pat Bannister

Don Bannister married his wife Pat on March 4, 1961, at St Philip's Church in Bradmore, Wolverhampton.

The happy couple spent their 60th wedding anniversary with quiet celebrations at their home in Alveley before hopefully meeting family to mark the occasion when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Don was an industrial chemist at GKN research lab until taking an early retirement and forming the Severn Valley Country Park volunteer group with Jack Atkinson.

The 83-year-old is preparing for his 30th year volunteering at the park near Bridgnorth, and said the key to making his marriage last twice as long was "equal amounts of give and take".

Don and Pat Bannister on their wedding day at St Philip's Church, Wolverhampton, on March 4, 1961

Pat, also 83, whose maiden name is Roden, was the manager of a day centre in Wolverhampton for many years before running Alveley Day Centre voluntarily until 2017.

Don said: "There's not much we can do at the moment. Being in our 80s, we're not risking anything and we're staying in, but we'll have some celebration in the middle of summer when we can get together with our family.

"We've got many friends around and about, in Wolverhampton and Alveley, and of course we can't see any of them so this will be a great way to reach out."

Don, who is chairman of the park's volunteer group, has helped raised £30,000 for the country park to date.

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