70 years of marriage celebrated

Jean and Dennis Simmonds celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary
Jean and Dennis Simmonds celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary

Jean and Dennis Simmonds met across a crowded room – and the rest is history.

The couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary yesterday with cake, a balloon, cards and flowers.

Dennis, 93, and Jean, 91, met at a dance in August 1947, though he at first thought she was ‘taken’.

He said he was walking past Sankey’s, a big factory, and saw there was a dance on. He walked in and spotted Jean across the room but she was dancing with a man.

Malcolm Simmonds, their son, said: “Though he was very attracted to her, Dad thought she was taken. The man in question then went off, leaving my Mum sitting on a chair, so Dad took his chance and asked for a dance.

“It turned out the man was her brother, Bob. So the relationship between Mum and Dad was able to bloom and it really did start ‘across a crowded room’.”

Jean, who was a GPO telephonist, and Dennis were married in Shropshire on June 12, 1948. Due to Dennis’s job as a railway clerk, the couple moved home several times.

Over six decades, they lived in Birmingham, Southsea, Reading and Haslemere, and even had a six-month stint in Melbourne, Australia.

After retirement, Dennis was invited to rejoin Transmark, resulting in the pair travelling to Iraq, the USA, Hong Kong and South Africa, where Dennis was the traffic manager of Botswana Railways.

They settled in Worthing in 2006 and have a home in Steyne Gardens, though Dennis is currently staying at Country Lodge Nursing Home, in Cote Street, while recovering from an operation.

The couple have sons Tom and Malcolm and four grandchildren.