Show couple are ‘diamond’ winners

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Training two Crufts’ champions and becoming dog show judges has been a shared joy for a Hucknall couple who celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary recently.

Frank and Iris Smith met at the town’s Beardall Street School and became best friends and childhood sweethearts and have remained inseperable ever since.

At 19 years-old, the couple married at St John’s Church on 31st July 1954 and last Saturday celebrated 60 years together with a party for friends and family at The Grove.

Iris was born in Hucknall on Bestwood Road where the couple now live and have been for the past 50 years after moving from their first home together on Nottingham Road.

“We lived at 241 but a midwife lived at 241 Hucknall Road,” explained Iris. “People got confused and we were forever getting knocked up at all hours by ladies in labour and frantic husbands,”

In their early days of married life, Iris worked at the coal board area offices in Bestwood while Frank was a trainee mechanic at Hooley’s.

“All of Iris’s family worked for the pits and always seemed to have plenty of money so I decided to leave the motor industry and join them,” said Frank who worked at Hucknall Colliery for 28 years before leaving to become a dog warden for Nottingham City Council.

It was Frank’s love of dogs that led to his success at Crufts with his border collies Jaff who was obedience champion in 1971 and Jay Jade who took the same title in 1984.

“I used to spend hours training the dogs and we travelled the country attending dog shows,” added Frank who is well known in the dog show world and featured on the back of Good Boy choc drops with his Crufts’ winner.

Frank now shows canaries after a spell in the past with birds after running Shirebrook Bird Club.

The couple have a daughter Joy who lives close by and after years touring the country, they now enjoy being at home.

“Whatever we have done throughout our lives we have done together,” added Frank. “We have always been the best of pals and enjoyed the same things and now we simply enjoy relaxing at home with a nice cup of tea and each other.”