The Pope blesses Willesden couple celebrating their golden anniversary

Joan and Jo Walsh are celebrating 50 golden years. Picture credit: Jan Nevill

Joan and Jo Walsh are celebrating 50 golden years. Picture credit: Jan Nevill - Credit: Archant

A blessing from Pope Francis was received by a couple from Willesden on Saturday as they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Jo and Joan Walsh marked 50 years of marriage with a private mass in a chapel run by Dominican nuns in Anson Road, Cricklewood.

And during the service, they were presented with a written blessing from Pope Francis by Sister Raymonde.

In the evening, Mr and Mrs Walsh, celebrated with family members at the Arena Restaurant in Wembley.

“It went very nicely, it was a lovely time,” said Mr Walsh, adding that the couple’s guests presented them with tickets for a trip on the Orient Express as an anniversary gift.

Among the guests were Mrs Walsh’s sister and chief bridesmaid Maureen from Chicago and Mr Walsh’s brother and best man, Frank Walsh from Ruislip.

Mrs Walsh arrived in London from Ireland aged 14 in 1957 and by convincing her prospective employers she was 17, got a job in Woolworths on Hampstead High Street.

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Three years later, while working in Sainsbury’s at Belsize Park, she met 22-year-old Jo Walsh, a heavy plant driver living in Cricklewood.

The couple, who originate from Ireland, were married on September 14, 1963 at the Sacred Heart Church in Quex Road, Kilburn and honeymooned in Kerry and Dublin.

On their wedding night, Mr Walsh promised his new wife they would take a trip on the QE2 for their 25th wedding anniversary.

It was a promise he would keep, and in 1988 the couple sailed to New York on the QE2 and had a “trip of a lifetime” touring America.

The couple began married life in Kilburn before moving to Riffel Road in Willesden where they still live today.

In 1967, Mr and Mrs Walsh set up their own civil engineering company, Mayway Excavations.

They had four children, three boys and a girl, and now have seven grandchildren.

Mr Walsh said: “We’ve done things together and we ran a business together.

“To make both work, you have to have a happy medium.

“We’ve had a good life.”