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Arsenal boss sends message to diamond anniversary couple

13:46 03 October 2012

Pictured by a letter of congratulations from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and staff Pic: Dieter Perry

Pictured by a letter of congratulations from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and staff Pic: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

A pair of life-long Arsenal fans celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary this weekend and received a letter of congratulations from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Pat and Dennis Riley, who are both 81, met at a church that became Pink Floyd’s studio and celebrated on Saturday with a big party for family and friends.

The couple have always supported Arsenal and Mrs Riley even drank champagne out of the FA cup with the team after their 1950 triumph.

Around 70 people turned out to celebrate with the happy couple, both Islington born and bred, at a community hall near their Downham Road home.

Mrs Riley said: “It was lovely to get the letter. We have been Arsenal fans all of our lives, both of us were. We used to go to all the games.”

“One of my best memories was drinking champagne with the team out of the cup. My father was a councillor and there was a reception at the town hall.

“My mother couldn’t go so I did – all the team were there.

“It was wonderful for an 18-year-old.”

The pair were courting shortly after the Second World War, and Mrs Riley says things were tougher back then.

“We had no money in those days – our biggest trip out was to a fish bar in Old Street. I was 16 and he was 17 and we have hardly moved from were we were born.

“We met at a teenagers club at St James’s Church in Britannia Row, which Pink Floyd bought and turned into their studio.

“I think the secret to a happy marriage is having a sense of humour. And having two remarkable children helped.”

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