Golden couple met over 60 years ago

AND NOW: Irene and Michael

IRENE and Michael Collins first met when they were leaders at the Judean Club, more than 60 years ago.

And the Alwoodley couple will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary on September 1.

“We were around 12 and 13 when we got to know each other,” Irene said. “It wasn’t until 1964 that we that we met up again, at a showing of Cleopatra that the Jewish Blind Society had put on at the Majestic Cinema.

“We had both gone with friends and Michael and I bumped into each other at the reception afterwards.”

The pair began dating and were married on September 1, 1968, at the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol synagogue, when it was located in Newton Road.

Irene (nee Tobias) reckoned that their wedding may have been the last one in that building before the congregation moved to its present location in Street Lane.

The couple have two children, Daniel and Mandy (now Broch), as well as five grandchildren.

Irene said: “We live a happy and full life together — and Michael has his hobbies and I have mine!”

Michael worked in corporate clothing until his retirement, while Irene taught at Deborah Taylor Nursery, ran a children’s clothes shop and then worked with her husband.

Golfer Michael and Irene both sit on the BHH’s social committee.

And Irene is known for her charity work. She became involved with cancer research and awareness following her brother Harvey Tobias’ death from the disease more than 20 years ago.

Irene co-chairs the BHH Leisure Club, with Barry Abis, and is a befriender on behalf of the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board.

She was also co-chairman, with Alan Harris, Howard Lee and Jack Transport, of the On Stage committee, which ran monthly shows and raised £50,000 for numerous charities.

Irene and Michael will celebrate their special day with a kiddush at BHH on September 1, which they will host jointly with their good friends, Lesley and Keith Warner, who are also marking 50 years of marriage.

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