Sheila and Harpal re-enact their wedding day in Torrington 50 years on

North Devon Gazette

When Sheila Singh was first introduced to Harpal Niijar at a family gathering at her home in Torrington over 50 years ago, little did either know that they were about to embark on their own personal love journey.Â

The couple celebrated their wedding day with a traditional Indian ceremony on Sunday, August 22, 1971, at Torrington Conservative Club with the Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Bible), transported from a Gurudwara in London.Â

The reception was followed by a reception at Torrington Town Hall with meat sourced from local butcher David Heywood and Indian chefs hired to prepare a traditional Indian meal with a traditional English three tier wedding cake.

On Saturday, August 28, following a registry office wedding in Bideford which all the groom’s family attended, Pal and his family took the bride with them to start her new life in Luton were Pal was living at that time. Sheila’s happiness was tinged with a touch of sadness as it was such a wrench to leave her beloved parents and family.Â

Sheila and Pal’s golden wedding celebrations at the Town Hall last Saturday were almost identical to their initial wedding reception. This time however they were joined by son’s Kaj and Harj, daughters-in laws, Andreya and Ambar and grandchildren.Â

All the friends they made since returning to Torrington in 1985 celebrated with them and shared some delicious Indian food prepared by Satkeer Catering from London and then danced the night away to a combination of traditional Indian music and English pop provided by Rish and Calibar events, Slough.Â

As the happy couple cut into their stunning cake, which was made by local cake maker and nurse at North Devon Hospital, Debbie Kirby, they were reminded of their first wedding all those years ago when they cut into a very similar cake. Â

When asked the secret to a long and happy marriage, Sheila responded: “You need to work at your marriage, always be there for each other and support each other, but you also both need your own space at times.”Â

Aware of the ups and downs in most marriages, Sheila added: “Don’t give up at the first hurdle, there will be lots of ups and downs. Family support is really important, in the Indian families they support their children and help them through the bad times.Â

“Youngsters these days need to understand that you have to put a lot into your marriage and if you do you get a lot more back in the end. Growing together means you have a companion for life.”Â

While Harpal is quick to agree with his wife’s sentiments, he jokingly added: “Whisky and wine also help.”