Hornchurch couple’s surprise message from the Queen on 65th anniversary

14:48 31 January 2013

Jessie and John Pask with their 'blue sapphire' anniversary card from the Queen

Jessie and John Pask with their 'blue sapphire' anniversary card from the Queen


A pair of married motorcyclists are celebrating 65 years on the road together – but there was one card in the post they weren’t expecting.

Jessie and John Pask's wedding day - January 31, 1948Jessie and John Pask's wedding day - January 31, 1948

Jessie and John Pask, of Hornchurch, were delighted to find daughter Betty had arranged for them to receive a letter from the Queen – who celebrated her own 65th wedding anniversary in November – on the big day.

“It certainly was a big surprise,” said Jessie. “The card says: ‘It gives me great pleasure to send my best wishes to you for your 65th wedding anniversary. I hope your day will be filled with happy memories.’ And it will be.”


The Pasks were married at St Mary’s Church, Dagenham, having met during evening classes at South East Essex Technical College in the area.

On holiday with the family in the 1960sOn holiday with the family in the 1960s

But the pair had quietly “spotted” each other while Jessie, now 85, worked at a nearby library.

“I used to see her in the library and I guess that’s where our paths crossed,” said devoted John, now 86.

“I thought it would be nice to know her rather better than I did from the other side of the desk.”

John, who was in the Air Force for much of the couple’s early relationship, said there was no great secret to their success.

Jessie and John Pask on their silver wedding anniversary, 1973Jessie and John Pask on their silver wedding anniversary, 1973

“It’s different for everybody,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine living any other way, or with any other person.”

The couple moved to Great Nelmes Chase, Hornchurch, shortly after their children Robert and Betty – now 60 and 58 – were born.

“Initially it was just downstairs accommodation, but with room in the roof to expand it,” remembered John. “In my spare time I built the upstairs.”

The Ford engineer said they had bonded over a shared love of travel.

Jessie and John Pask on their ruby wedding anniversary in 1988Jessie and John Pask on their ruby wedding anniversary in 1988

“We traversed the country on a motorbike,” he said. “On occasion Jessie drove it and I was a nervous pillion passenger.

“Our main interest was going to different places, and we still like to travel. We used to go to the Lake District – that was our type of holiday.”

Jessie added: “We used to do a lot of walking, which is a bit curtailed now because I’m waiting for a knee replacement.

“We used to go cycling, too – we knew Essex within a 25-30 mile radius very well.”

Jessie and John Pask on their diamond wedding anniversary, 1998Jessie and John Pask on their diamond wedding anniversary, 1998

Just 20 when she wed, grandmother-of-seven Jessie says the key to a successful marriage is give and take.

“I was a child bride,” she laughed. “I had to get permission from my parents.

“We give and take and we’re tolerant to each other.

“You have to have a sense of humour, too.”


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