Religion key for Potter Heigham pair

FROM their first meeting as teenagers to the present day, faith has always been the central plank to the relationship of one Potter Heigham couple celebrating their diamond anniversary.

Eric Jones, now 85, remembers that when he first met Rosina at a church youth group in Surrey aged 15 he thought: “I was made to get married to her, and I’ve not changed my mind ever since.”

Sharing a love of acting and a similar sense of humour, the two began a friendship that developed into more but was cut short when Eric was shipped abroad to play his part in the second world war with the Royal Corps of Signals in 1944.

However, a few thousand miles was not going to get in the way of romance, and hundreds of letters made their way back and forth between the pair.

Three years after his return, and the completion of a degree in maths at Oxford, they married on December 23, 1950.

That winter was much like this one, and one of great grandmother Rosina’s abiding memories was not of the dress, or walking up the aisle, but of the weather.

“It was lovely” said the 86-year-old, “but I remember it was very cold.”

Most Read

The couple moved to Rochester, with Rosina raising their two children and leading the local Women’s Institute, while Eric became the head of the maths department at a local school, before moving to their current home in 1996.

Now, they are congregation members of St Nicholas Church in Potter Heigham, and Eric is the organist.

He said: “Church life has always been central for us. We’ve always tried to help here and in the past, and we still keep in contact with some of the members of the original church youth group.”

They also have the benefit of hindsight; anticipating poor weather, they are having their main celebrations in April at The Sutton Staithe Hotel, with family and friends coming from all around the country.

Rosina explained they had a tea party at their daughter’s home last Thursday – the day of their anniversary – but added: “We decided it was risky at this time of year and difficult for people to travel, and I guess we were proved right.”

As to the secret of their long marriage, she added: “We say it’s love and laughter. I just can’t believe it’s been 60 years – it’s gone so quickly.”