Skating champions roll to anniversary
- Credit: Archant
They met as childhood sweethearts and now they are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.
Ray and Shirley Welch met 70 years ago when they were just 11-years-old during a choir service at St Peter’s Church in 1946. A few weeks later Shirley went into the post office where Ray’s father worked and Shirley remembers seeing Ray’s pet dog Rusty rolling around in a pile of fish heads, from a nearby fish house.
Keen rollerskaters, the pair regularly practised at the Winter Gardens winning the junior cup in 1951. While Ray was on leave from the RAF military police in 1953 he proposed to Shirley in the Floral Hall in Gorleston and they were married on September 1, 1956 at St Peters Church.
When asked their secret to a happy marriage, Ray and Shirley, now 81 and 80 respectively, said although they row, they worked hard at their marriage.
Ray said: “In our day you had loyalty and respect for everybody – it was the done thing that you worked for it.”
After briefly living in a flat in Nelson Road South, the couple bought a house in Clarence Road in 1953 spending all their savings and enlisting the help of family to help to do it up.
Their two daughters, Julie and Lisa, were born in 1960 and 1964 respectively.
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Following a move to Links Road, Caister for eight years, the couple bought Kingsley guest house in Queen’s Road in 1966, retiring in 1984. Ray also worked for the East Anglian Flooring company.
An animal lover, Shirley would take in stray dogs and was involved in rehoming animals for the Norfolk and Suffolk Animal Trust.
She was also a housing warden for the borough council, a job she said she loved.
The couple also have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.