THEY met at a dance when they were 17 and at the weekend the dancing continued as Jessie and Derek Baker celebrated 60 years of marriage. The couple, who still go ballroom dancing together, met in 1944 at a dance at The Brampton Institute. We danced a lo

THEY DO FEEL LIKE DANCING: Jessie and Derek Baker on their wedding day.

THEY met at a dance when they were 17 and at the weekend the dancing continued as Jessie and Derek Baker celebrated 60 years of marriage.

The couple, who still go ballroom dancing together, met in 1944 at a dance at The Brampton Institute.

"We danced a lot of dances that night," said Mr Baker.

He added: "I couldn't get her out of my mind and I said to my mother: 'I've just met this wonderful girl, but I haven't made any arrangements to see her again. My mother said: 'If I was you I would get on your bike and present yourself at her house.' So I did."

Winifred and Percy celebrating their diamond wedding.
Main picture: DOUG McLEOD.

The following year their courtship was interrupted as Mr Baker was called up for war service.

Upon his return, Mr Baker first worked on the land and then joined the police force.

The couple, who live in Little Paxton, were married at Brampton Church on May 24 - then known as Empire Day - in 1947 and the reception was at the Brampton Institute where they had met.

"Everything was on coupons and rationed, so I had a borrowed dress, one of the bridesmaids already had a dress and we borrowed the others - two pink and two green - and we put velvet sashes on them," said Mrs Baker. "I don't know where the food came from, but we had sandwiches, probably Spam. There was homemade shortbread and we bought the cake from Huntingdon Market."

Winifred and Percy on their wedding day

Mr Baker added: "It was a lovely day and we had a heat wave for our honeymoon in Hillingdon."

The couple, who have two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren, believe their long and happy marriage is down to two things: tolerance and respect.

"Neither of us is short tempered or flares up," said Mr Baker. And his wife added: "You can't expect not to have ups and downs but you need to talk over all problems."

The real answer, of course, is that for more than 60 years they have had fun keeping in step.

The picture which appeared in The Hunts Post in 1986 when Percy retired.

# PERCY Cooper was disappointed when he was told his occupation would prevent him from signing up to serve in the RAF during World War Two.

But his reserved occupation on a dairy farm, and a touch of fate, helped him secure a bride to whom he has now been married to for 60 years.

For, at the farm, arrived 19-year-old Land Army girl Winifred and romance blossomed.

On Saturday, the couple, who live in Bury, celebrated 60 years of marriage.

"I saw my friends join up and I was delivering milk to RAF Upwood but now I think I was meant to stop here," said 86-year-old Mr Cooper, who delivered milk for 40 years.

"I was very glad when Winifred came along. I asked her if she would like to go to the pictures - these days they would say: 'do you want to go clubbing?' We went on the bus to Peterborough and the film wasn't very romantic, it was The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Both Percy and Winifred, who was originally from Nottingham, eventually became well-known faces in Ramsey.

He worked for W Ray Dairy through three generations of its owners, and Mrs Cooper, 84, worked in The Windmill Bakery on The Great Whyte for 20 years.

The couple, who have lived in the same house in Bury all their married life, celebrated their diamond wedding with a family gathering at home, including son John, daughter Lynn and their four granddaughters.