A FAMILY has paid tribute to a much-loved grandfather who died just days after celebrating his diamond wedding anniversary.

Jack Butcher died in Basingstoke hospital on August 25, just 11 days after marking 60 years of marriage with his wife Jean.

The 86-year-old was allowed out of hospital for one day on August 16 to return to his home at Lady Susan Court, in New Road, at the Top of The Town, Basingstoke, where he enjoyed a celebratory party, creating a final happy memory for his loved ones.

His daughter Marilyn Bennett said her father would be greatly missed, but added: “Everyone is so pleased that he was able to celebrate such a milestone occasion which created another lovely lasting memory of dad for us all.”

Jack and Jean met in Basingstoke when Jean was 16 and Jack was 20. The couple waited six years before deciding to tie the knot, marrying on August 14, 1954 in St Michael’s Church, Basingstoke.

Jean wore a white wedding dress and had four bridesmaids, including her niece Doreen Rogers, who was at the couple’s diamond wedding party.

Following their wedding ceremony, Jack and Jean had a reception at Moose Hall, in Church Street, where they enjoyed a sit-down meal with their guests. The newly-weds then went on honeymoon to Weymouth.

The couple’s first child, Marilyn, was born two years after their wedding, in 1956, followed by Stephen.

Jean, now 82, worked for Kelvin and Hughes, later known as Smiths Industries, in an office in Church Street, where she held the role of booking clerk.

Her husband was a bus conductor in the town, moving his way up to superintendent before retiring at the age of 65.

The couple enjoyed playing bowls together in their retirement, and going on holidays.

Last September, Jack and Jean moved to Lady Susan Court, a block of retirement apartments, and it was there that they enjoyed their celebratory party with family and friends, including their great-grandchild and five grandchildren.

Recalling their wedding, Jack said: “It was a lovely day.”

Jean added: “We married six years after meeting. I was a bit young at 16. We just decided we would get married. Jack’s not the romantic type, so didn’t get down on one knee. He’s not like that!”

Asked what was the secret of a long marriage, Jack joked: “Don’t do anything bad,” before adding: “I’m pulling your leg.”

Jean said: “It’s all about give and take. We have always got on together.”