Diamond couple Eric and Ann have been together for 66 years

Eric and Ann Blakey celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on August 8. 389D
Eric and Ann Blakey celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on August 8. 389D
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A couple will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary this week, 66 years after they first met at a dance.

Eric and Ann Blakey of Denton Avenue, Grantham, first met at a dance in Bourne when Ann was 16 and Eric was 18.

They quickly learned they shared something in common - even if they refused to believe it at first.

Ann said: “We share the same birthday, which is a bit unique. We didn’t believe each other at first so had to show each other our ration books to prove it.”

The couple married six years later on a scorching hot August 8, 1953 at St Bartholomew’s in Ingoldsby - Ann’s home village.

But during this time they saw little of one another.

Eric completed two years’ National Service before signing on for another three which took him to Malaya.

He was demobbed in 1956 but was back with Ann less than a week before being recalled when the Suez Crisis began. Eric served another six months.

Ann said: “It’s not like today. You couldn’t just pick up the phone. We just had to write and that was it. There was not a lot you could do.”

But Eric has fond memories of the Army.

He said: “I enjoyed it. They ought to have all the young lads do it today when they get to 18. It was a good thing and teaches people respect and discipline.”

On leaving the Army Eric joined the police force but, after two years, found he could not live on the £8 per week wages to give up the job to work on a farm in Ingoldsby with Ann.

Ann said: “We enjoyed it. It was hard work but we were outdoors in the fresh air. I still love my gardening and being outside now.”

In 1960 Eric began working for Bristowes Tarvia - now Colas. He stayed there until 1974.

In 1970 the couple left Ingoldsby to move to Denton Avenue so their children would find it easier to get to school.

Ann said: “There were no buses in the country so it wasn’t fair on them. But I would go back to the country tomorrow.”

The couple have two children, Keith and Karen, and four grandchildren.

Keith followed his father and joined the police while grandson Sean followed his grandfather into the Army, joining the Queen’s Company of the Grenadier Guards.

He has completed three tours of Afghanistan.

Ann, 81, and Eric, 83, say the secret of a long and happy marriage is to work through your differences. Eric added: “These people who say they have gone 30 or 40 years and never had an argument are liars.”