Peterborough couple celebrate 70th wedding anniversary after fate brought them together on the dance floor

Eddie and Dorothy Hall celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with their family at a meal at the Gordon Arms EMN-150913-085931009
Eddie and Dorothy Hall celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with their family at a meal at the Gordon Arms EMN-150913-085931009
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It was a romance started by a mystery dance nearly three-quarters of a century ago.

The lights were dimmed at the Phorpres Sports and Social Club and all the girls were asked to pick a boy to partner them for a twilight waltz.

Eddie and Dorothy Hall on their wedding day

Eddie and Dorothy Hall on their wedding day

And as fate had it, it became the first of many dances that 16-year-olds Dorothy and Eddie Hall shared together through a relationship which saw them celebrate 70 years of marriage on Tuesday.

Not that they had to wait long for their second dance together. “I returned the compliment and it went from there,” said Eddie (89).

The couple who live in Squires Gate, Gunthorpe decided to get married once the war in Europe had finished in 1945. Eddie said: “I thought I was going to the Far East so we fixed the wedding date for September 15. Then the war there finished.

“I had to apply for compassionate leave to get married, or passionate leave as we called it. I had to go to the commanding officer and I said ‘I want to get married, sir’.”

The officer replied by calling Eddie a silly so-and-so, before adding: “Make the most it. It does not last long.”

Eddie joined the Royal Navy in 1943. He was a radar operator in the Coastal Forces which patrolled the coast by England, France and The English Channel.

He came under attack when a shell hit just above the radar set where he normally sat and he also took part in the D-Day landings and helped destroy enemy ships.

Eddie said: “It was an experience. It was a marvellous site to see all the ships going over there.

“Before we went out the captain gave us a pep talk. He said ‘this is the day you have been waiting for. Some of us may not came back’.”

But Spalding-born Eddie, who had been home regularly during the war, did come back to marry Peterborough resident Dorothy.

The couple married at St Mark’s Church, Lincoln Road, with the wedding coinciding with a dance final which they had to miss.

Dorothy (90) and Eddie lived on the Dogsthorpe Estate before moving to their current home and they had two children - David (65) and Diana who passed away aged 50 from breast cancer.

Dorothy undertook clerical work at Baker Perkins during the war and later worked for Smiths The Bakers in Oundle Road.

The couple have been inundated with well-wishes for their anniversary, with their home covered in cards, including one from the Queen.

Flowers sent by her sister June and her husband Dennis, who live in Australia, also arrive d on their special day.

Reflecting on her Platinum Anniversary, Dorothy said: “I would never change anything about our marriage except losing our daughter. Give and take - that’s what you have to do.”

Eddie added: “By and large it’s been a happy marriage. I always say you need to tolerate the little foibles and you need a sense of humour.”

Dorothy no longer dances, but she is still a keen gardener and a member of the Women’s Institute in Gunthorpe, as well as the Mother’s Union at All Saints’ Church.

Eddie worked in the booking office at the old East Station near the river and spent 40 years at Baker Perkins where he finished in the estimating department.

During his time at the firm he represented it in sports including football, hockey and cricket. He was also a keen bowls and snooker player.

The couple, who have seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, celebrated their anniversary on Saturday with an enjoyable family meal at The Gordon Arms in Oundle Road.

They also went out with friends on their anniversary.

For Dorothy, it may have been a fortunate choice at a teenage dance which brought her and Eddie together, but she is glad that fate played its part. “I have no regrets,” she said. “We have made some lovely friends.”