Ballroom encounter leads to 60 years of marriage for Kettering couple

A Kettering couple who met at a dance are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today (Thursday).

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Vic and Sheila Cross are celebrating 60 years of marriage today.

Vic and Sheila Cross, who are both 81, tied the knot at SS Peter & Paul RC Church in South Shields at 1.30pm on January 16, 1960.

But it was far from love at first sight when they met at the coastal town's Majestic Ballroom in February 1957 - with Sheila horrified by Vic's string tie, drape jacket and suede shoes.

Sheila, who ran the nurse bank at St Mary's Hospital for 10 years, said: "He came up to me and I thought 'who is this?!'

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Vic and Sheila on their wedding day.

"I did not like the way he dressed."

Three days later they met for the second time and this time Vic opted for a smarter grey suit.

They courted and after six weeks Vic proposed, but Sheila turned him down as she wasn't ready.

Eighteen months later he produced a ring again and this time she said yes - although her mum wasn't pleased with a January wedding another 18 months on having hoped the big day would be in June.

Vic, a keen photographer, said: "We had everything. There was sunshine, we had rain, I think we even had a touch of snow."

It was a big family affair with about 100 guests at a reception at the town's Hedworth Hall before the pair celebrated their first days as a married couple in London.

In the 1970s they moved to Kettering for Vic's work and have lived on the Ise Lodge estate ever since.

Vic, a keen motorcyclist, has visited 56 countries and spent a lot of time travelling around the world for his work as a sales engineer including trips to Japan, China, India and America.

So what's their secret to 60 years of marriage?

Vic, who was also a local football referee, said: "Her secret is that I was never here. Mine is that she was always here for me when I got home.

"The main secret is that I was given some advice the day I was married: 'you will be alright if you do what you're told'."

The couple, who marked their 50th anniversary with a Caribbean cruise, have two children, Stephen and Gary, and two grandchildren, Ethan and Anna.

To this day they still have a 'lucky' horseshoe that Vic's niece had at their wedding.

Sheila, who also worked as a dinner lady at Millbrook Junior School, said: "I don't know if it's lucky or not, but we are still together!"

Vic and Sheila will be celebrating with a party at their local pub The Woolcomber in St John's Road on Saturday (January 18).