Hazel celebrates 70 years with Brian – after friend said it wouldn’t work

The country will come together in June to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne for the monarch.

But a couple from Driffield, who lived in Middleton-on-the-Wolds and Hutton Cranswick for much of their married life, are celebrating seven decades of marriage this month.

Brian and Hazel Hutchings, both 90, first met when Brian, an apprentice bricklayer, was sent to the grocery shop in Driffield where Hazel worked.

When I told one of my friends 70 years ago that we were going to get married, she said, ‘We like Brian, he’s a real nice lad, but it won’t work’.

Hazel hutchings

The pair hit it off instantly and were married three years later in St Andrew’s Church, Middleton-on-the-Wolds, on what eventually turned out to be a pleasant March afternoon.

However, Hazel told the Wolds Weekly that the outlook looked bleak weatherwise on the morning of the couple’s wedding day.

“We first met when I worked at a grocer’s shop in Driffield and Brian worked as an apprentice bricklayer,” she said.

“He was sent to do a job at the shop in 1949 and we got on well, getting married in 1952.

“It poured down on the morning of our wedding day. My mum and dad organised our reception in the village hall and while we were setting up, it faired up and turned into a lovely day. It was a beautiful afternoon.

“We went to Bridlington for our honeymoon to stay at my auntie and uncle’s house, as you didn’t go abroad in those days.

“We had a good time, but only stayed for the weekend as we were both working and needed to be back.”

Hazel and Brian spent over 20 years living in Middleton, during which time two sons, Derek and Daryl, were born.

The couple relocated to Hutton Cranswick and then Driffield, where they moved upon retirement aged 70.

As well as their hobbies of golf and baking, Brian and Hazel enjoyed several holidays abroad, starting around 20 years ago when Hazel overcame her fear of flying.

“We lived in Middleton until 1977 when we moved to Hutton Cranswick,” said Hazel.

“In 2002, our golden wedding anniversary year, we left Cranswick to move to Driffield.

“We had two sons, Derek and Daryl, and now have four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“Work-wise, I had one or two different jobs, working in shops, offices and a bakery, whilst Brian was a bricklayer and built our bungalow in Middleton in 1968.

“He then became a site agent on different building sites before retiring at the age of 70, the same age as me.

“Brian was a golfer, which made me a golfing widow.

“He actually had a heart attack on the golf course, but managed to get over it.

“I’ve always kept myself busy and loved baking for friends.

“We went on holidays, but I would never fly. Brian kept telling me that I wouldn’t see anything if I didn’t go on a plane and we did do eventually.

“We went to Spain, Belgium, France and, when Brian was a member of Beverley Male Voice Choir, they went to sing in Germany.”

Brian is now living in a care home and, sadly, due to an outbreak of COVID-19, the couple will be unable to share their milestone together.

However, having marked their 90th birthdays in November 2021 last month with family, Brian and Hazel have had other opportunities to celebrate in recent months.

Overcoming obstacles and being open with each other has been the secret to their seven decades of marriage, according to Hazel.

“Sadly, we aren’t able to celebrate as the care home where Brian lives has had an outbreak of COVID,” she said.

“I was due to be going to see him last Friday, but Brian is confined to his room at the moment and I can’t go in.

“We were looking forward to it, so it is disappointing. We hadn’t planned a big celebration as I was 90 in November and Brian was 90 in February.

“We took him out of the care home for a meal and invited the family to join, so, in a way, we’ve already celebrated.

“I’ve had a lovely cake made and I’ll invite some friends to enjoy it with me.

“When I told one of my friends 70 years ago that we were going to get married, she said, ‘We like Brian, he’s a real nice lad, but it won’t work’.

“I said I was prepared to take the risk. She went to live in Leeds and called off at our house in Middleton one day, the year when we were celebrating our silver wedding anniversary.

“She had come to apologise and admit she was wrong about us.

“Sadly, she’s died now, but I don’t know what she’d say about us being married for 70 years!

“We’ve had our ups and downs, like everybody does, but we’ve got over them and haven’t kept anything from each other.”

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