Couple celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss
Their first date was a trip to the cinema in Oakham High Street in 1950 to see a film called ‘They Were Not Divided’ – and Ray and Eunice Hill have been together ever since.
The couple, who live in Burley-on-the-Hill, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with friends and family last week.
Mr and Mrs Hill, who are both 81, were married on March 24, 1956, at Holy Cross Church.
It was a simple ceremony because the couple’s chosen date was during Lent – and the vicar would not allow flowers or music.
Mr Hill had not long returned home from National Service where he was sent to serve in Korea and Egypt.
He said: “I’d only been on £2 a week in the army and money was tight. We were keen to get married at the end of March , because that was when you’d get some of your tax back which helped us fund it.
“The service itself was rather simple. There were no flowers, just a button-hole each, but that didn’t bother us. We were married - that was the most important thing.”
The couple were engaged in 1952 - shortly before Mr Hill was sent overseas. Mrs Hill, who was working in a hosiery factory in Oakham at the time, waited for his return.
After the church service, a reception was held in the village hall - an old tin hut between Toll Bar and Burley, long-since demolished.
It was Grand National Day and the couple can clearly remember guests crowding round a radio to hear the big race, which was won by the Irish-bred, British-trained thoroughbred E.S.B.
For their honeymoon, Mr and Mrs Hill drove to Matlock, Derbyshire, in their Austin A40 Sporting Brake.
They recently returned there to mark their milestone anniversary.
The couple, who have two children, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren, also enjoyed a family celebration at The Barn Restaurant, in Oakham.
For many years, Mr Hill was employed as a gardener in the grounds of Burley-on-the-Hill house. In 1967, he and his wife teamed up to open a plant nursery, which they ran until the early 1990s.
Over the years, they met many famous people visiting the estate, including the Duke of Gloucester and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Mrs Hill said: “It doesn’t seem like 60 years - it has flown by. We feel very lucky to still be together and to have so many wonderful family members and friends.”