St Ives diamond couple met over sweets on London Underground
- Credit: Archant
A St Ives couple who met on the London Underground have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.
Tom and Ann Fletcher, of All Saints Green, were on a train from Marble Arch to Ealing Broadway on their way home from work and Ann was eating sweets with her friend.
Mr Fletcher, who was in the RAF, said: “Sweets were on ration as it was 1952 and they were very precious. I said ‘How about a sweet then?’ That triggered it off.”
Mr Fletcher, 84, said they went on a date to the Odeon in Ealing Broadway. Mrs Fletcher, 77, who was working for C&A Modes in Oxford Street, said she could not remember the film but thought they may have sat in the back row.
They met for lunches in Hyde Park and Mr Fletcher and his friend had breakfast in a café where they could see his future wife and the girls through the windows of the store’s alterations department, waving and making eyes at them.
When Mr Fletcher was posted to Germany the couple decided they could not be apart. On November 3, 1953, they were married at Ealing Register Office, the wedding paid for by the proceeds from the sale of his motorbike.
The couple have three children, Vivian, Stephanie, and Simon, and from 1961-1964 lived in Singapore.
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Mr Fletcher, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1976, called his wife his ‘Hot Chocolate Girl’.
“I was walking home one night and it was pouring with rain, just like a popular advert at the time for hot chocolate,” Mr Fletcher recalled.
“When I came up to the house I could see through the window, Ann with the children in their pyjamas, a glow from the roaring fire and a cup of hot chocolate waiting for me on the table. It made such a beautiful picture I can still see it today.”
The pair have had their trials and tribulations, not least an accident in which son Simon, aged just 13, fell 130ft from a cliff, suffering terrible injuries to his legs. He recovered and spending time with his children Christopher and Stacey has been one of their greatest joys.
Mr Fletcher retired in 1984 from his role as Warrant Officer, General Engineering, at RAF Wyton, where Ann also worked for 22 years in the NAAFI, and they settled in St Ives.
“It is very important in a marriage,” Mrs Fletcher said, “to respect one another’s individual needs and be prepared to compromise.” Mr Fletcher added: “Having the support of lasting friendships with great friends and neighbours that we share helps. As does having a goodnight kiss every day!”