Celebrating marriage with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Freelance Travel Writer and member of the International Travel Writers’ Alliance
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Fred. Olsen cruise, four couples celebrating 50-plus years together reveal
their recipe for a successful marriage.
is the secret of a long, happy and successful marriage? Well, as I only managed
12 years, I'm probably not the best person to answer the question. But some of
the passengers on a 16-night Fred. Olsen cruise from Dover to the French
Riviera, Spain and Portugal, were well enough qualified in the marital stakes
to comment. Many enjoyed wedding cake and cocktails as they watched the
televised wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on a big screen in
Boudicca's Neptune Lounge.
wish the newlyweds well, but perhaps the Royal couple might benefit from wise
words of those who've notched up the years, working together through thick and
thin to uphold their marriage vows, keep their love alive and their commitment
steadfast. After the Royal Wedding ceremony, I spoke to four couples on the
Fred. Olsen cruise, each celebrating 50-plus years of marriage, this year.
they describe their own weddings from the 1950s and 1960s and offer their tips
and advice on how to maintain a long and happy partnership.
Veronica and Frank Gilduff
1960, Veronica and Frank Gilduff spent just £20 on their wedding and arranged
it in only 10 days. The couple, who live in Clacton-on-Sea, celebrate their
58th wedding anniversary, this year. They met when Frank was 16, Veronica 14,
he was singing, she was dancing in a charity road show. Then again three years later,
when Veronica was performing
at the Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool. "I was working at Woolworths and
dancing nightly in a variety show. Jimmy Tarbuck was billed as 'Liverpool's new
young comedian'. He was 18!" explains Veronica, 75. Frank, 78, adds:
"Veronica was a great dancer with lovely legs and a great
personality." He then joined the Royal Navy as a cook, and he and Veronica
started writing to each other. Frank decided to propose before he went to the
Far East for 12 months. Veronica laughs: "I didn't really fancy Frank until
I saw him in his naval uniform. But my friend dared me to say 'yes' so I
did." He says: "We had 10 days to arrange a wedding and I had £20 in
my pocket. I was 20 and Veronica was 18. Veronica's parents hosted the
reception in their front room. We had a buffet, wedding cake, crates of
beer and Babycham." She adds: "Afterwards, my sister slept at mum and
dad's while we stayed at her house for two nights. Then Frank went to sea
again." The couple's daughter, Deborah, a former London City Ballet
dancer, now a dance teacher, was born three years later. Veronica adds:
"Frank and I always work together as a team. We share and discuss
everything. Frank is always at my side."
Maggie and Peter Burton
Maggie and Peter Burton have enjoyed more than 50 cruises in 25 years. The cruise-crazy couple, who live in Leicester, are celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary, this year. Sadly, former building company contracts manager, Peter, 79, developed dementia 16 years ago, following a stroke. His wife, Maggie, 78, who worked for British Gas, and is her husband's carer, says: "Although Peter suffers from dementia now, we both find the relaxation on cruising holidays really benefits us." For their wedding in 1959, Maggie wore a white lace, ballerina-length dress and stiletto-heeled shoes.
While they lived in it, the couple worked on their first house, a terraced property, for 12 months, to make it more comfortable. Maggie explains: "But we still had an outside toilet and lino on the floor. We stayed there for seven years. "There was no fridge or central heating. Sometimes, in the winter there was ice inside the windows. "We had a twin-tub washing machine but I had to soak our babies' nappies in a bucket." Maggie feels that, today, marriage is often taken too lightly and that divorce is too easy.
"People walk away because they think the grass is greener. But someone else isn't necessarily the answer. "Tolerance, kindness and loyalty are the qualities that make a good marriage." The couple have two daughters, five grandchildren, and a 17-month-old great-granddaughter, Ava. Peter says: "She smiles every time she sees me."
David and Ann Weatherly
her husband's job as a civil engineer meant him living in the Middle East for
much of the time over 20 years, Ann Weatherly had the main responsibility for
bringing up their four children. Ann, 80, and David, 86, of Newcastle, were
married in church on a rainy February day in 1959. She wore a white brocade,
hand-made gown and carried lily-of-the valley, stephanotis and roses. Former
secretary, Ann says: "We lived in rented accommodation to start with. We
had one good carpet and walked on floorboards in the other rooms. It was a long
time before we got a television and we didn't have a fridge until 1970. "David
had to complete his National Service, and much later, when he was working in
Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, their eldest son, Michael, went out to stay with his
dad for six to eight weeks during the school summer holidays. David explains:
"It was good for him to experience a different culture, climate and way of
life." Still holding hands after 59 years of marriage, the couple are firm
believers in being tolerant, giving each other their own space and following
their individual interests. When they retired, Ann became secretary of a
ladies' group. David joined a local men's organisation and he volunteers at a
toddlers' group where he washes and cuts up fruit and generally helps out. Ann
adds: "We have separate sitting rooms where we watch our own TVs. I like
soaps and medical dramas and David likes sport and documentaries."
Claire and John Radford
Never go to bed on an argument. That's the advice of Claire and John Radford, of Nottingham, who booked the Fred. Olsen cruise to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, this year. Their first home was a three-bed semi in Cornwall, which cost £3,250, in 1968."Properties like this are now going for about £260,000," says former chef, John, 73. Claire and John have two daughters, grandsons, Jake, 23, and Rossi, eight, named after Italian motorcycle road racer, Valentino Rossi, and one grand-daughter. They met while John was a hotel chef in Mawgan Porth, near Newquay. "I knew straightaway that he was the one for me," explains former hairdresser, Claire, 72.
was very popular with the girls and was seeing someone at the time. "But
my friend, a receptionist at the hotel where John worked, and I came up with a
plan. "We'd spotted a girl's name and telephone number written in John's
handwriting, on a wall. "So we put shoe whitener on a little brush and
painted over the name and number until it disappeared." Claire laughs:
"It worked! I was 19 and John was 21 when we married in Sedgley, West
Midlands. The vicar was drunk and slurred his words while we were making our
vows. He smelled of cigarettes, too. "Every marriage has its challenges,
but we never go to bed on an argument. "We enjoy life and have lots of
laughs together. Trust and love is the key." John adds: "When I first
saw Claire, I found her very attractive and I still do."
travelled from Blackpool to Dover via Eavesway
Travel Advisor recommends Fred. Olsen Cruise
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