Love birds mark big day at reserve

John and Brenda Kendrew with the team from RSPB Bempton Cliffs
John and Brenda Kendrew with the team from RSPB Bempton Cliffs

A Bridlington couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with staff and volunteers at the RSPB nature reseve at Bempton Cliffs.

John and Brenda Kendrew have visited the centre almost every day as part of Brenda’s recovery from a heart attack and stroke, which have left her wheelchair-bound.

When staff heard about their diamond anniversary, they served up cake and coffee on the decking to celebrate the big day.

Catering assistant Lynne Hopkinson, who helped organise the treat, said: “Brenda and John started visiting last winter when it’s quieter here, so we had time to chat and get to know them. 

“They’re such a lovely couple and they’re here so often they’re more like friends than visitors.”

Originally from Castleford, Brenda and John met in 1956 when they both took dancing lessons:

“We used to go to Jack Tumelty’s ballroom which was called The Kiosk - everybody went there”, recalls Brenda. 

And while John never took to dancing, he took to Brenda in a big way:

“I just saw her across the dance floor and knew she was for me.”

The couple were married a year later at Holy Cross Church, in Airedale, when Brenda was just 16.

RSPB communications officer, Maria Prchlik, said: “We tell visitors about how the gannets that come to the cliffs in their thousands mate for life, perhaps in future we should also mention Brenda and John.  

“We’re delighted to have shared in their celebrations”.

The couple exchanged rings a second time – a diamond ring for Brenda and a plain gold band for John to replace his lost wedding ring.