It was wonderful…
to be able to share a 60-year celebration of marriage with my parents and family in September 2011. We organised a week full of surprise visits at a lovely venue in Devon, on England’s South West coast.
Mum and Dad thought they were spending a quiet week with my brother Robert, his partner and my nephew. But behind the scenes there was much activity.
My brother Martin flew in from Spain where he lives. My sister Julie and brother-in-law, Paul, drove from Portugal and came across on the vehicular ferry. And I, of course, flew in from NZ. Martin, Julie, Paul and I met in Plymouth and the next day hired and car to drive to the secret venue. The idea was that we’d prepare a Christmas dinner for us all – we so rarely get to spend Christmas all together.
Robert met us at South Allington House and my nephew, Chris was put on sentry duty to notify us when Mom and Dad arrived. They had been told to arrive after 3.00 pm. In the meantime, two cousins and their wives also arrived so we all hid in the lounge with a drink ready to toast the happy couple.
It was fantastic to see Mom and Dad’s face as they walked in and saw us all
I swear my Dad was in shock for two days! During the week, other cousins arrived and left, including one from Australia. A highlight for me was us all playing cricket on the beach at Lanacombe Bay.
On the day of their 60th anniversary, a ‘telegram’ arrived from the Queen. We had a lovely meal in the Tower Inn and were joined by a childhood friend of ours and his wife who were also in Devon and celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary on the same day.
Dad remembered seeing a church full of strangers on their wedding day
Many people had crammed into the church to see what a ‘black’ man looked like. The consensus of opinion was that the marriage would never last. In those days, ‘mixed’ marriages were more than just frowned upon, and Mom and Dad’s marriage wasn’t given much hope of surviving.
They both had to deal with many prejudices
At the time and throughout probably the first half of their marriage, colour prejudice was rife in the UK. It’s a testament to their love for each other and the strength of their partnership that it’s lasted this long. Fortunately much has changed in 60 years.
Thanks, Mom and Dad for showing people the way and demonstrating that while colour is only on the surface, love infuses every cell of the body.
Here are some of the photos from the week.
Click on them see a larger version