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László and Erzsébet Safrany

László and Erzsébet Safrany, of the parish of St Joseph’s, Dinnington, were married at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Hillsborough on 5 October, 1957, a year after arriving in the area as refugees from Tura, a village near Budapest in then-communist Hungary.

  Known in the parish as Les and Elizabeth, the couple were surprised to be called out at the end of Mass on Sunday, 1 October to receive a special blessing in front of their parish family ahead of their actual anniversary during the week.

  Speaking on the day of celebrations, Mr and Mrs Safrany both said that it was hard to believe how far they had come, since arriving in England as poor refugees.  Their story is a romantic one: the village sweethearts risked everything to escape the crackdown after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.  Les trekked across Europe to get to England; arriving after Elizabeth, who was smuggled out of the country to a Red Cross camp in Austria.  Having very little to call their own, Elizabeth got married in a donated wedding dress courtesy of an article in the local paper.  They started their new life in Pitsmoor, Sheffield; moved to Brinsworth and then finally settling in Laughton en le Morthen, Dinnington.

  Mr Safrany worked as a panel beater, before setting up his own car body repair business in Laughton which he ran until his retirement in 2000.  His wife, a trained copy typist, turned her secretarial skills to supporting the family business.  They have two children – Laszlo, a primary school teacher and Stephen, a research professor – and five grandchildren.

  Fr Andy Graydon, Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, offered prayers for the couple and their family, who were there to add their prayers to those of Fr Andy.  “I have known the couple for well over thirty years.  They are outstanding Catholics and attend St Joseph’s Church regularly.  They have also been highly involved in the life of the community over the years.  They have passed on to their children and grandchildren the values and teachings of Christ and his Church.  It is such a wonderful achievement to celebrate 60 years of married life together.”

  Les and Elizabeth received a congratulatory card from Her Majesty the Queen and a special papal blessing from His Holiness Pope Francis, which took the form of a beautifully decorated parchment.

  To celebrate the couple’s milestone anniversary, their family arranged a lunch at Rossington Hall, Doncaster.  As well as receiving gifts of flowers and a diamond anniversary rose bush, their daughter-in-law, Helen, made a beautiful cake for the family to share as the happy couple were toasted with champagne.