Not taking life too seriously is the recipe for a long and happy marriage according to a couple who celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary yesterday.
Eric and Mary Rudkin both say that with a sense of humour you can cope with anything.
Married at Stamford Register Office, they had a small family wedding and a weekend honeymoon in London.
Stamford-born Eric, 86. grew up in Bath Row in a row of back to back housing overlooking The Meadows.
“It was regarded as a bit rough down there and we were regularly flooded,” he said.
Mary, now 79, moved to Stamford when she was four and the couple met as teenagers queuing up outside the Central Cinema.
Now living in sheltered housing at Emlyns Gardens, Stamford, they met when Mary was 17 and were married two years later. Their first home was a tiny mice-infested condemned cottage in East Street.
“It was one room with no kitchen and no electricity, an outside tap and an outside toilet,” said Mary.
They were delighted two years later to get a new council house in Kesteven Road with an indoor bathroom and a big garden. They went on to have three sons there - Mark, now 55, David 53 and Paul 47. Daughters-in-law are Lynne and Sue and there are two grandchildren, James, 26 and Louise Rose, 24.
Eric did wartime service with the 4th Armoured Brigade in France and Germany and the couple have been on several battlefield coach tours where they have always enjoyed great hospitality. But neither has ever been in an aeroplane and Mary never learned to drive.
Eric went on to work as a bricklayer for Bowmans and Vic Couzens and worked at Ketton Cement for 20 years. Mary worked at the Co-operative Stores, for Lt Cdr Dixon and his family at Ufford, at Arthur Lyons (now Cummins) factory and at the Central Cafe. Both are members of the Zipper Club - they both have zip-like scars as a result of heart surgery and both are incredulous at current complaints about the NHS.
“We can’t praise them enough,” said Mary. “We have been in Papworth, Addenbrookes and Peterborough hospitals at various times and have always had wonderful nursing care.”
“And we’ve never had bad food,” added Eric.
They were looking forward to a family lunch on Tuesday and possible surprises yesterday.