Barkingside couple share anniversary with Fairlop Oak

A Barkingside couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in the shadow of a tree which has lasted just as long as their married life.

Harry Paxton, 85, and Marie Paxton, 81, visited the New Fairlop Oak, a tree in the middle of Fullwell Cross roundabout, on Friday to mark their happy life together.

The couple, who live in Kirkland Avenue and have four children and five grandchildren, were married in St John’s Church, Stratford, on this date (December 8) in 1951.

That was also the day the tree was planted to commemorate the original Fairlop Oak – “a noble tree 36 feet in girth” – which stood close to Fairlop Lake until it was blown down in 1820.

The new oak was also planted for the Festival of Britain.


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Mr Paxton said the couple noticed the plaque marking the date of planting when they moved to the area in 1958.

Mrs Paxton said: “We’ve called it our tree ever since and we pass it every day.

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“It’s going to go on a lot longer than us.”

Mr Paxton was 25 and his bride was 21 when they wed in the church which Mrs Paxton used as a bomb shelter during the Second World War.

He worked as a stonemason before becoming a police officer based in Canning Town, Ilford and Chadwell Heath.

He retired in the late 1970s.

He joked: “I was knocking around when it was Dixon of Dock Green.”

Their children – three sons and a daughter – are taking them out for a special family meal to mark the anniversary today.

And Mr Paxton said the secret of their long life together was not leaving an argument until the next day.

He said: “We always say agree to disagree.”

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