Sheffield diamond duo’s first date like a romantic Hollywood movie

The couple as they are now
The couple as they are now

Joe and Ivy Brooks are the very best of friends.

The Sheffield couple met 64 years ago as teenagers and the spark between them was instant.

The couple outside their shop on Portobello Street

The couple outside their shop on Portobello Street

“I remember she looked like a film star, I couldn’t believe my luck when she showed up for our first date at the pictures,” revealed 80-year-old Joe.

“I paid a few pennies extra that night so that we could sit in the best seats up on the balcony – she was worth it. I don’t remember what we saw that night, I spent the whole evening looking into her eyes.

“From then on we never left each other’s side – we’ve pretty much eaten, worked and slept together for the past six decades.”

The diamond couple, of Dore, today celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss and Joe is quick to reveal the secret to a long and happy marriage.

“It’s all about give and take,” he said with a wink.

“Lots of give and take – there will be ups and downs, but if you talk things out together and laugh through the hard times, you’ll make it through.”

Ivy, 81, agreed: “We’ve always been close and always together. Marriage is about compromise and coming back together after the tough times – I’ve come at him with a few frying pans in my time!”

Joe was aged 15 and working in the steel industry when he met 16-year-old Ivy, who was working at Bassett’s factory.

“He was my toy boy,” smiled Ivy.

“We were married in 1953 at St Mary’s Church in Ecclesfield and then, in 1958, we opened our first cafe together. We worked together day in and day out for the rest of our working lives, we’ve always been a good team.”

The couple – who both cook – ran Joe’s Cafe, first on Portobello Street in the city centre and then later on William Street, near the Jessop hospital, until they retired in 1996.

Joe said: “We loved working together and our cafe was a success – our regulars included Jimmy Crawford and Ron Delter among a number of other big names at that time.”

“Peter Stringfellow came in too when he was a young lad and he was quite taken with Ivy, thought the world of her – he nearly gave me a run for my money!”

The couple, who have one daughter, Patricia, still like to keep active and enjoy gardening and walking together.

They’ve also enjoyed travelling since they retired– visiting Australia and Spain.

They are planning to celebrate their anniversary with a big party at the weekend and have got family and friends flying in from all over for the celebration.

Joe added: “I was thinking about whisking Ivy away quietly on a cruise but Patricia insisted we leave her in charge of the celebrations. She wanted to make a fuss and it’s going to be lovely – we have family flying in from America, so it’ll be a really special day.”