Australia couple return to Bolton to celebrate golden wedding
FACED with a freezing British winter in 1969, a Breightmet couple took the biggest gamble of their lives.
Barry and Jean Tomlinson and their two children swapped Bolton for Perth in Western Australia.
And 44 years later, on a return to Bolton to mark their golden wedding, they have no regrets whatsoever.
Barry, aged 71, originally from Salford, desperately wanted a better climate to work as a sign writer, but Jean, aged 69, was less keen to leave her family.
Jean said: “We had recently bought a house in Breightmet, but that winter was so cold Barry could barely hold his brushes at work.
“I gave in one day and within a few weeks we were heading out on the boat.”
It was not all plain sailing though.
Jean said: “When I told my mum she locked herself in the bathroom and sobbed so much she soaked a bath towel. That was the hardest part of it.”
It was was easier for Barry as his parents, Arthur and Ada, followed him to Perth in 1974, when they were aged 60.
Barry said: “Dad came and visited us on a holiday, liked it that much that he went home, sold the house and flew back out within a few weeks.”
Arthur died last year, aged 99, four years after his wife passed away.
Barry and Jean married at the New Jerusalem Church in Kearsley, on August 31, 1963, with Jean’s uncle Eric Yates key to starting the love story.
“My uncle was very involved in the church, and Barry did the signs for the pantomime,” Jean said. “We met there and he asked me for a date and the rest is history.”
The couple have a son Mark, aged 50, and daughter Wendy, aged 47, as well as four grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Jean said: “The outdoor life here was perfect for raising the kids, even winter days are warm, like summer days here.”
More trips abroad is their retirement plan after a lavish 12-week golden wedding celebration in which they have toured the United States and Canada before coming to Bolton, with a stop in Singapore still planned.
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