Platinum wedding anniversary joy for Ipswich childhood sweethearts who met at dance 82 years ago
- Credit: Gregg Brown
It truly was love at first sight for two childhood sweethearts whose paths crossed at a school dance in Ipswich – more than three quarters of a century ago.
Former RAF airman Raymond Rowe, speaking just days after the pair’s platinum wedding anniversary said he feels the same as he did when he met wife Joan in 1935.
Despite attending separate boys’ and girls’ schools in Nacton Road, the couple were drawn to each other on the dance floor when they were just 11 years old.
Now great-grandparents to seven youngsters, Raymond and Joan left school at the same time and started working at the Co-op.
Their relationship lasted through Raymond’s years in the RAF during the Second World War, with the 93-year-old veteran admitting he thought about Joan every day.
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He said: “I fell in love with her the first time I saw her.
I still feel the same as I did when we first met each other.
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“It was at a dance, we went to separate schools, boys and girls, in Nacton Road.
That was in 1935 so I think we would have been 11. I guess that must mean we have known each other for 82 years.
“We both left school at the same time and worked in the Co-op, she worked on the checkouts and I was in the grocery section.
“When I was 17 I joined the RAF and spent five years in the war – I survived my first bombing raid when I was 18. We married on the 16th of August 1947 so our anniversary was very recent.”
Raymond and Joan now live in Beech Lawn Residential Home in Ipswich – 93-year-old Joan’s health deteriorated a few years ago which meant Raymond became her carer.
When his own health began to falter he was unable to look after her and she moved in two years ago. Raymond himself moved in two months ago.
He added: “I love her dearly and I wouldn’t change anything about our lives, we bought our first home in Robin Drive in 1955 and lived there until a few years back when Joan had to come here.”
The couple’s son, Colin Rowe, 67, now lives in Colchester with wife Wendy.
In total Raymond and Joan have seven great-grandchildren – the youngest of which is Archie, who is almost two.
Colin said: “Mum just lights up when dad comes into the room. I cannot believe they have been together for so long, but as you can see they love each other dearly.”