An island romance has led to sixty years of marriage for a Market Rasen couple which they celebrated last week with family and friends.
If it hadn’t been for a security crisis in the 1950s out in Cyprus, Joan and Eric Edwards say they would never have met.
Eric, from Sheffield, was in the RAF and stationed on Cyprus. Joan, from Kent, answered a call for volunteers to work in the NAAFI. Their worlds collided and, as they say, the rest is history.
“Well it is supposed to be the island of love,” said Joan.
She continued: “I think it was Eric that saw me first and asked if I would go out with him.
“We were just attracted to each other and we had lots of good times touring the island when we had time off.”
Eric said: “I used to get ribbed by my friends as they said I was only going out with her because of the food.
“The mess food wasn’t as good as the NAAFI food – well Joan was the cook.
“The girl doing the ordering used to put a little x next to my order so Joan knew it was for me and there was usually a little bit extra on the plate.”
Joan spent a year in Cyprus, returning in December 1959, and, after two-and-a-half years stationed on the island, Eric returned the following month, just in time for their wedding.
Joan was 21 and Eric 23 when they tied the knot on January 26 1960 at All Saints Church, Belvedere.
Joan’s talented mum made her wedding dress and those of the four bridesmaids.
Eric said: “Joan’s dad said to me before the wedding: ‘you will look after my daughter’ – I will always remember that... and I have done it.”
Early married life saw Eric posted to various stations, including Germany, but in 1968 and now a family man, he decided to leave the RAF.
He went to work at Bainbridges in Lincoln and the couple made their home in Market Rasen.
Eric said: “We had lived here for a while when I was stationed at Faldingworth.
“We had a flat above Coulsons Carpets (now the Gift Horse) on the corner of Union Street.”
Joan added: “We thought Market Rasen was such a lovely little place; so nice and peaceful – and not too much traffic – so we decided to make our home here.”
The couple first lived in Gordon Field, in a new build, where they remained until moving to their present home off Waterloo Street in 1990.
Joan became very involved with the WI and with country markets, through her love of baking .
It was with friends made over the years and their beloved family they celebrated 60 years of marriage at Market Rasen Golf Club.
It was a rare treat for the couple to get their four children – Steven, Lynn, Helen and Colin – together in one place.
Joan and Eric also have five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
And the secret to this long and happy marriage is?
“Tell each other you love them – and having plenty of kisses through the day,” said Eric.
Joan added: “Staying in love, as we have always been.”