Ipswich: Platinum wedding couple Reg and Elsie (who met while they were cleaning windows) are shining example of wedded bliss

IPSWICH: Elsie and Reg Catling’s marriage really has been a sparkling 70-year love story.

Because the couple – who have just celebrated their platinum wedding –met when they were cleaning windows in Ipswich!

And the pair have enjoyed a glistening seven decades since.

Elsie, 91, and Reg, 96, celebrated their special anniversary on Wednesday.

The couple were both working in the Buttermarket when they met –Elsie, then 14, was employed at Oliver’s while 18-year-old Reg worked as an errand boy in Parnell’s.

The pair were out cleaning the windows of their shops when they first laid eyes on each other.

They married at the newly-built St Thomas’s Church in Ipswich on Easter Saturday, April 4, 1942. Elsie was 21 and Reg was 26.

Most Read

Now, more than 70 years on, the two marked their union with close family at their home at Emily Bray House in Woodbridge Road, where they have lived for 13 years.

Daughter Pat Caddick, 65, said: “They always say the day of their wedding was very mixed weather – and they reckon their marriage has been like that!”

As they chose to marry during wartime, the couple’s nuptials were a hasty affair – Reg was in the army and came home from the war on the Friday, they married on the Saturday and went back to his regiment on the Monday.

Rationing made it difficult for Elsie to get a wedding dress, but the men she worked with at Ransomes and Rapier helped her out.

Pat said: “Where she worked, the men sold her their dockets so she could get enough material for her dress.”

After the big day, Elsie didn’t want to waste the dress so she shortened it and dyed it pink in order that she could keep on wearing it.

After joining the army, Reg qualified as a cobbler and worked in shoe repairs for most of his life – moving on to Gooch Plastics in Farthing Road and retiring from there as a quality control officer.

Elsie returned to employment once her children were older, working for 11 years at Marks and Spencer.

Reg went blind a couple of years ago after suffering with deteriorating sight for many years but the couple are still very happy together.

So what’s Elsie’s secret to such a long marriage?

“Putting up with each other!” she joked.

n Are you celebrating a special anniversary? Write to Your Letter, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter