Former Mayor of Lancaster and her husband celebrate 70 years of marriage

A Morecambe couple are sharing their platinum year with the Queen.

By Louise Bryning
Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 10:01 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 5:31 pm

Joe and Joyce Taylor were married on May 31, 1952, just months after the Queen acceded the throne and they’ve just celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary.

It’s a milestone few couples achieve and they received a special card from the Queen to mark the occasion.

When Joe Taylor met Joyce Timperley in Morecambe’s Tower ballroom, they couldn’t have imagined going on to share their lives for seven decades.

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The couple celebrated their anniversary with family.

“When I first saw Joe, I said ‘Who’s that fool over there?’ He was sat in the middle of the dancefloor in a deckchair reading a newspaper. It was Crazy Night so he was being crazy,” Joyce explained.

So when Joe asked for a dance, Joyce at first refused but he persisted.

“And the rest is history,” said Joyce.

Joe was brought up in an Irish orphanage after both his parents died and he arrived in Morecambe to find work. Joyce was born in a railway carriage in Woodhill Lane and lost her dad when she was nine.

Joe and Joyce Taylor on their wedding day, 70 years ago

The platinum pair’s wedding day didn’t quite go to plan either.

It took place in Colchester, the home town of Joe’s sister. However, she got mumps and couldn’t attend anyway.

The newlyweds spent the first six months of married life in Colchester before returning to Morecambe and Joyce’s birthplace - the railway carriage.

Their first married home was a council house in Kingsway. Joe took different jobs while Joyce was a nursery nurse at the Royal Albert Hospital in Lancaster and then a nanny at Lansil.

Joe and Joyce Taylor.

Joe eventually spent his working life as a chimney sweep, attending many other people’s weddings to wish them luck.

The couple’s first child, John, was born in 1953, followed by Martin, Theresa, Paul and Joanne. They now have 18 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

Joyce continued to work in shops and cafes and in the early 1970s was a finalist in the Mrs Britain contest, to find the best home-maker.

In 1976, Joyce began more than 40 years as a community champion when she stood for the city council in her fight for a community centre for Westgate where she has lived for 58 years.

Among Joyce’s most well known campaigns were her attempts to save Queen Victoria Hospital’s casualty unit, stop the closure of Morecambe’s Marks & Spencer store, and successfully banning performing animals on council owned land.

She also petitioned for a link road, was behind Lancashire Against Nuclear Dumps, and raised money for a new children’s ward at the RLI and for children suffering renal failure.

Joyce represented Heysham South ward as an Independent councillor until 2015, always topping the poll. She also served as the district’s mayor in 1993-4 and 2005-6 and was a deputy mayor too.

Joe was by her side as the mayor’s consort and her daughter, Theresa was her first mayoress, followed by her grand-daughter, Susan, later.

Sadly, in recent years, Joe has been living with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, and Joyce is blind in one eye following an unsuccessful cataract operation.

But the couple could still celebrate their long marriage with a small family party at the Morecambe Hotel.

Said Joyce: “Life has its ups and downs but we’ve stuck at it and remain friends which is very important.”