Lincoln City ‘superfans’ celebrate diamond wedding anniversary
Dedicated George and Doreen Ashton believe they have been to more Lincoln City matches than any other fans in the club's history.
The pair, who live off the High Street, have watched nearly every home match since they got married 60 years ago.
Together, the couple have seen around 2,000 home games.
George, 83, says he even followed the club during the Second World War.
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However, after receiving letters from David and Samantha Cameron, as well as the Queen, on their diamond wedding anniversary, their celebrations were hit with disaster.
The couple, who are the parents of club stalwart Chris Ashton, shelled out to sponsor the match ball for the friendly against Leicester City.
But the night before the fixture they were told fears of violence had caused bosses to cancel the match.
Doreen, 80, said: "It was on my birthday when we found out and I had to ring round all the people who were coming and say it was all off.
"I was really upset and shed a few tears. It seemed so flat the next day. It ruined my birthday and the occasion.
"I don't know why these people have to do it. I don't know what pleasure they get out of it."
The couple also missed the chance to walk out in front of the crowd to celebrate their anniversary, which took place on July 19.
Although the match, on Saturday, August 4, was cancelled, yobs from Leicester still travelled to Lincoln and caused trouble in the city.
But while the Ashtons disapprove of the violence, they say they have a lifetime of good memories to look back on.
George said: "I've been watching the Imps for even longer than Doreen.
"The first match was against Rochdale in 1934 in Division 3 North. We won 2-1. I'll never forget it."
Doreen, who was born in Skegness, joined George on the terraces when they were married in 1952 – the same year the Queen took the throne.
George says he has known all 31 managers since he began following the team.
And he said it was the atmosphere created by City's supporters that made watching them so special.
"When they had all the RAF bases here we used to get great big gates of between 13,000 and 14,000 people, even during the war.
"That was when we had some of the best players in the world played for us. It was terrific."
George admitted he and his wife show their love for the club in different ways.
She said: "I'm passionate about football but Lincoln have been my only club.
"Doreen gets really excited during the games, even at her age but I don't.
"I don't show it but I feel it, because it upsets me if they're not doing very well."
Doreen said: "I get really excited and show my emotions.
"What's the point in going if you don't get excited?"
Doreen explained she has always found a way to find out how her club is doing.
"Before the matches were broadcast on the wireless we used to go to the Echo offices when they were in St Benedict's Square and see the score put up in the window.
"There used be great crowds there. It was marvellous."
George, who is the president of the Lincoln Conservative Association, said the football club had helped to strengthen his relationship with his wife.
"We've always had the same interests," he said.