A chance meeting at a snack bar in Burton led to 60 years of wedded bliss for John and Sandra Gordon.

John, who went on to become chairman of Burton Albion in the 1990s, was only stationed in Burton for two weeks with the Territorial Army (TA) when he walked into Mocambo Snack Bar in 1959 and met his future wife. Today, Thursday, August 5, the couple are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.

After that chance encounter John, who is from Clydebank , Scotland, was obviously smitten with Sandra as he returned to Burton on two or three occasions to see the lady he had met.

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One evening, after finishing work Sandra returned home to be told she had a surprise visitor. There sitting on the sofa in the front room, along with two suitcases, was determined John. He had given up his job at sewing machine factory Singers to win his girl.

Luckily, Sandra’s eldest sister Jean took John in and he lodged with her for a couple of years. During this time, Sandra and John's relationship blossomed and they got engaged in 1960.

In 1961, two of Sandra’s older sisters were getting married and John suggested that they should also get married too. The sisters' dad, Cyril, suggested that all three got married in one ceremony. But Sandra did not like the idea so on August 5, 1961, John and Sandra were married at All Saints' Church, followed by a wedding breakfast and an evening reception at the Co- op Hall, in Byrkley Street, in Burton.

The first year of married life saw the couple living with Sandra’s parents until they had set up their own home in Queen Street in the town. Sandra worked at Pirelli in the footwear department in Burton as a machinist until the birth of their first child, Sheina in the August of 1965.

Two years later they were blessed with another daughter, Jane, who was born in June 1967. Sandra gave up work and stayed at home to look after the girls.

Once they were at school, she returned to work having various jobs at Bass, Lloyds and Associated Leisure. John had several driving jobs before working at Bass Worthington as a HGV driver for nearly 20 years.

Throughout their marriage the couple had their ups and downs, they say. And their relationship was definitely put to the test when in the early 1980’s the couple bought Dave’s Café, in Derby Street, as it meant Sandra and John working side by side. But they need not have worried.

a married couple
The couple on their wedding day on August 5, 1961

The venue was famously renamed Jock’s Café and became well known for its 'doorstop' bacon sandwiches. The business soon became a family affair with both daughters joining their parents by working at weekends. The café went on to be hugely popular and was a great success.

The early 1990s saw a complete change of direction for the couple. John, a keen footballer, purchased Sam Brassington’s shares in Burton Albion Football Club. He became chairman, with Sandra supporting him all the way. It was a childhood dream for John to own his own football club.

Again, the whole family would attend home and away matches. John’s chapter at the club ended when he sold his shares to Stan Clarke in 1996.

With an ever-expanding family to enjoy, John, an excellent golfer decided to retire and spent most of his time playing golf. The couple also took the opportunity to travel and enjoyed many foreign holidays. They regularly visited Ibiza, which was a particular favourite.

They also fell in love with cruising and have been fortunate enough to see a lot of the world, enjoying Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises, said the family.

They now lead a slower pace of life, partially down to the fact that six years ago John fell downstairs and fractured his neck. It was a bilateral fracture, known as the Hangman’s Fracture. He also suffered a bleed on the brain during the fall, which may have contributed to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Nevertheless, life still revolves around their two daughters, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, with another due in January.

The couple will be spending the weekend celebrating their anniversary with a big family party. It will be a double celebration as Sandra will be 78 today Thursday, August 5.

In recent years John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but his sense of humour is still very apparent. When Sandra reminded John, that it was their 60th wedding anniversary, he replied, 'yes aren’t you lucky!'.

With the holidays approaching, we've pulled together some of the best days out around the region that you can take the family on for a budget.

It's a comprehensive guide to keeping the kids entertained through those long six weeks’ holidays. With a choice of free, under £10, under £25 and 'blow the budget', there’s a day out to suit everyone, for whatever they can afford.

To read the guide, click here

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