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Couple celebrate 70 years of marriage

PUBLISHED: 19:10 04 June 2010 | UPDATED: 15:57 07 July 2010

Richard Parr

A couple who met at dance went on to become life-long partners during seven decades of marriage.

On Tuesday, Barry and Vera Hawes, of Toftwood, will celebrate their 70th anniversary with a party for family and friends at their Lydgate Close home.

A couple who met at dance went on to become life-long partners during seven decades of marriage.

On Tuesday, Barry and Vera Hawes, of Toftwood, will celebrate their 70th anniversary with a party for family and friends at their Lydgate Close home.

Vera, 90, recalled vividly the dance in her home town of Portsmouth where she met the man who was to become her future husband and father of their two children.

“Barry was on the dance floor and when he came back he said that I was sitting in his chair and I just replied that there were other seats for him to sit on and that's how it all started,” she said.

They courted for two years and were married on June 8, 1940. They went on to have two children, a son Barry junior and a daughter Julie.

They have enjoyed their married life and said you have to take the good with the bad.

It has also been an interesting life with several moves around the country which included stints in Jersey and Croydon.

Mr Hawes, 90, was born in Norwich and moved with his parents to the King's Head pub at Fulmodeston and joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16.

Service in the Merchant Navy took Mr Hawes all round the world and when he came out of the service in 1936 he joined the Royal Marines.

But little did he realise that he was to earn himself a place in history by being the oldest survivor of the torpedoed HMS Royal Oak, which lost 833 men in just 13 minutes.

Mr Hawes returned to civilian life in 1948 and found work as a bus driver in Portsmouth. Then he began work as an insurance agent working his way up to manager at different locations including Jersey and Croydon. He retired at the age of 60 after 28 years' service.

His wife worked during her married life, apart from when she had their children, and they both shared a mutual interest in playing golf.

They both agreed that the recipe for a long marriage was to work at it and to take the good with the bad.

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