Memories of the mid-1950s were rekindled as a Lymington couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in the New Forest care home they both moved to a year ago.
Staff at Colten Care’s Outstanding-rated Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst helped Fred and Iris Woodford mark their special day with a Covid-safe party for family and friends.
As they opened their cards and presents, Iris, 87, and Fred, 89, shared their personal views on what it takes to sustain a successful marriage for so many years.
“Of course we can have different opinions on things but we always try not to fall out over it,” said Fred.
“We’re both easy going,” said Iris. “We just get along and we rarely argue.”
Explaining how they first met, Iris said: “We were about 15 years old when we found ourselves at the youth club at South Baddesley Hall. The Vicar’s wife was teaching us how to dance.”
Later, when Fred was working as a mechanic at Keepings Garage in Lymington and Iris was in the buying department of the piston ring manufacturer Wellworthy, Fred would take cars out for a run to get a glimpse of her in her upstairs office and try to catch her eye and impress her.
Recalling their wedding day, Iris added: “It was a lovely day weather-wise. We got married at South Baddesley Church and had a do there afterwards. We enjoyed our honeymoon in Jersey. That was the first time we had visited Jersey and we have gone back there a few times since.”
Covid restrictions meant the couple’s daughters Susan, Valerie and Amanda and son Pete had to stay behind a Perspex screen but they were still able to share in the joy of the anniversary celebrations, bringing along a framed card from Her Majesty the Queen.
With 65 years being the sapphire anniversary for marriages, Woodpeckers staff presented Fred and Iris with a specially-made personalised keepsake pillow coloured white and sapphire blue.
And as well as baking a cake topped with a sapphire and white ‘Happy Anniversary’ message, chefs cooked the same celebration meal Iris would have made for the family at home, a roast chicken lunch followed by apple pie and custard.
Photos of Lymington life in the 1950s were shared for Fred and Iris to view, some brought in by the family, and others kindly copied and sent to the home by Lymington’s St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery.
Woodpeckers’ Senior Companionship Team Leader Ellie Peters said: “It was lovely to watch Fred and Iris open their cards and presents from loved ones while sharing fond memories of their wedding day 65 years ago and how they first met as teenagers.
“It’s a privilege to be able to help such a fantastic couple celebrate so many years together.”
September 1955, when Fred and Iris married, was the month that saw Britain’s first independent television broadcasts. The newly formed ITA, or Independent Television Authority, broke an 18-year BBC monopoly and introduced advertising to the small screen for the first time, though few households actually owned a TV set.
The year also saw Winston Churchill resign as Prime Minister due to poor health while rock and roll gained further popularity with US stars such as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley achieving worldwide fame.