Dying wish fulfilled for Trimley couple

AFTER more than 50 years of marriage a Trimley couple's love will continue to endure time and tide today in the surf surrounding their special island.James and Mary Stockbridge, of Thorpe Lane, Trimley St Martin, met in 1944 on the rock of Gibraltar and it was their eternal wish that when they died their ashes would be taken back and scattered into the sea.

AFTER more than 50 years of marriage a Trimley couple's love will continue to endure time and tide today in the surf surrounding their special island.

James and Mary Stockbridge, of Thorpe Lane, Trimley St Martin, met in 1944 on the rock of Gibraltar and it was their eternal wish that when they died their ashes would be taken back and scattered into the sea.

Now, their son Paul Stockbridge has fulfilled the lovers' wish and taken the couple's ashes back to where their story began.

"It was my father's wish to have his beloved wife's ashes scattered with his at Europa Bay, off Gibraltar, but he never really thought it would happen," he said.


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Paul, 55, and his wife, Christine, 52, of Hornchurch in Essex, travelled to the island and, with a few private words, they committed his parents ashes to the sea. It was February 9 – the day of their wedding 57 years before.

"It was a wonderful moment knowing I'd completed what my father had wished."

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James and Mary first set eyes on each other during wartime service with the Gibraltar garrison. James had played the drums from the age of 13 and, after he was injured in battle, was serving as a musician when Mary was posted there as a Wren.

The couple met at a dance, fell in love and were married at the island's Holy Trinity Cathedral in 1946.

The island held many treasured memories of their early days together and the couple were very fond of it, even returning for a day trip whilst on holiday in Spain ten years go.

On their return to England James formed his own band in London – the Clifford James Band – and Mary performed with them doing a Latin American dance routine. But it was her husband's career with Customs and Excise that brought the couple to Felixstowe.

On their Golden Wedding anniversary, in 1994, the couple returned to Gibraltar to have their marriage blessed. Apart from the day trip this was the first time the pair had been back since their military service.

Mary, who suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, died in May 2000. James died in November of the same year after a stroke.

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