Platinum wedding anniversary: Air raid shelter encounter led to life together for Raunds couple

Ron and Beryl Friend will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary today, March 1
Ron and Beryl Friend will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary today, March 1

A night in an air raid shelter led to an encounter which has lasted a lifetime.

Ron and Beryl Friend, of Raunds, who celebrated their platinum or 70th wedding anniversary yesterday (Wednesday, March 1, 2017), first met in London while teenagers.

Young people who had nowhere else to go during the war met up to socialise in the public air raid shelter in the Farringdon Road near to Smithfields Market.

It was here that Ron, then 16, made his first impression on his 15-year-old wife to be.

Ron, now 89, said: “I used to do impressions of the famous people of the day and messed about with my friends.”

Beryl, now 88, had gone to the make-shift youth club with a group of her friends.

She added: “During the air raids we didn’t bother going for shelter, me and mum just sat and nattered.”

Ron must have made an impression on machinist Beryl because three years later they married in Finsbury Town Hall – but they couldn’t afford a photo of the event and none of the guests had a camera.

Settling down to married life was tricky because Ron then joined the Navy for seven-and-a-half years.

However, their three children soon came along – Linda, Valerie and Robert.

In 1963 the family moved to Raunds. Beryl had briefly been evacuated to Finedon at the start of the Second World War.

The couple, who had six grandchildren, now have six great-grandchildren, all of whom live in the county.

The couple praised their daughter, Linda, who lives in Rushden, for her devotion: “I don’t know what we would have done without her – she can’t do enough for us.”

And the secret to a long marriage?

Beryl said: “It’s a real partnership that’s helped our marriage last.”

Ron adds: “ And I do as I’m told!”