ROMANTIC pensioners John Walkden and Joan Williams promised to be true to each other “in every way” as they tied the knot.

The couple were married at Mere Hall in glorious sunshine, surrounded by family and friends, and serenaded by the Bolton Caledonian Pipe Band.

John, aged 75, said he could not be happier to have married his beautiful bride Joan, aged 81.

“I feel fantastic. It’s been a wonderful day,” he said.

“We wrote our own vows, and the registrar said to us she had never heard anybody put as much effort into their vows, which was lovely to hear.

“I’m looking forward to waltzing with Joan for our first dance.”

The couple met at St Peter’s Church in Farnworth, which father-ofthree John joined after his first wife Olwyn died in 2000, and they became firm friends.

When the church closed in 2007 they joined St John’s Church, in Albert Road, and John would give the Joan a lift every Sunday.

They fell in love, but when John, a former North West Electricity Board driver, initially proposed he was rebuffed as “independent”.

Joan, who had never married, wanted to stay in her flat in Bradford Street.

After seven years of “courting” they moved in together and got engaged.

At the ceremony, officiated by registrar Jane Clark, John’s son Philip Walkden walked Joan down the aisle.

Speaking after the ceremony, she said: “I feel great.

I’m so happy.”

John’s brother Keith said he was delighted to be best man, after he missed his first wedding in 1956 because he was completing his national service.

Keith said: “I should have been his best man almost 60 years ago, but I was in Germany.

“I’m pleased to finally do this honour.”

After the service, the wedding party celebrated at St Gregory’s Social Club in Church Street, Farnworth, with a warm buffet, more music from the Bolton Caledonian Pipe Band and a disco.

The newlyweds will head to the Wye Valley in the Cotswolds for their honeymoon in September.