Rugby league lovers’ diamond celebrations

Best friends: Joan and Jim Etty.
Best friends: Joan and Jim Etty.
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It was sixty years ago to the day that diamond couple Jim and Joan Etty tied the knot.

And the pair, who were both born in Batley, say that being best friends has kept their marriage strong for decades.

Mrs Etty, 80, said: “We are able to be honest and discuss anything with each other.

“We have pulled together when bad things have been thrown our way and we have enjoyed every minute of the good.”

Mr Etty, 83, is best known for his professional rugby league career with Batley, where he stayed until he retired.

Since then, the couple, who now live in Earlsheaton, have enjoyed watching the team play and are members of its breakfast club.

The pair first set eyes on each other at a party, just before Mr Etty turned 18.

They began courting but were soon halted when Mr Etty was called up to complete his national service in Singapore. They rekindled their romance upon his return.

And on November 10, 1956, they tied the knot at St Mary’s Church in Batley.

They went on to have two children - Christopher and Simon - and are now proud to have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

They will celebrate their anniversary with a family party on Saturday.