Childhood sweethearts who moved to Dursley from Italy celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary

Luigi and Maria Paoletti of Highfields, Dursley who are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Saturday March 15 (4499113)

Luigi and Maria Paoletti of Highfields, Dursley who are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Saturday March 15 (4499128)

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A COUPLE who moved to Dursley from Italy in the 60s to start a new life are to enjoy their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend.

Childhood sweethearts Maria, 81, and Luigi Paoletti, 80, moved from the Benevento province of Italy, near Naples to seek their fortune after work was becoming increasingly hard to come by.

Luigi first headed to Gloucestershire to seek work in 1960 and found a job at the foundry of RA Lister and would eventually move to sister firm Lister Shearing.

Maria followed her husband two years later and also worked in the foundry as well as the canteen of the Dursley firm and the couple settled in Rosebery Park in 1963 with their five children Donato, Giuseppina, Pasquale, Maria, Antonio.

They have lived there ever since and will now enjoy their diamond anniversary with friends and family, including 10 grandchildren and 10 great grand children.

The couple married on March 15, 1954 after three years together and raised their five children before heading across the English Channel.

Luigi told the Gazette it had been hard to get used to the English culture and language but had settled well with his family in Dursley.

When asked what the secret was to a happy marriage, Maria, who is a keen bingo player and enjoys cooking for her extensive family, said it was about give and take.

Mary Tandy has been the couple’s neighbour since they moved to their Highfield home in 1963 and said that they had never had a cross word between them.

“They are a lovely, lovely couple,” she said.

“We have got a lot to learn from Mr and Mrs Paoletti. English families just meet up for births, deaths and marriages but their family meets up all the time, which is incredible really.

“We help each other out, it’s very nice. I enjoy our talks over the garden fence.”

The couple’s daughter Maria Paoletti said they made a good team.

“They have always been family-orientated and very hard working,” she said.

The Paolettis are to enjoy a big family dinner at Fromebridge Mill on the anniversary date this weekend, organised by grandchild Lucia Parry, 19.

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