Wroxham couple who met after drawing straws celebrate 65th wedding anniversary
PUBLISHED: 16:08 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:08 08 November 2017
Pat Watts was a 17-year-old nursing assistant when her eyes first met those of handsome young sailor Allan Simpson.
She drew straws with other nurses at the Hospital for Women in Soho, London, to see which of them would ask the Royal Navy seaman out – and it was she who won the chance to invite him to their Christmas dance.
A relationship which then began with romantic strolls along the banks of the River Thames reached a momentous landmark on Wednesday (November 8) when the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary at Heron Lodge care home, in Wroxham, where 86-year-old Pat now lives.
Mr Simpson, 89, who lives in St Margaret’s Gardens, Hoveton, joined his wife at the Kingsley Healthcare run home in Norwich Road for a party put on by staff.
He recalled: “I met Pat when I was visiting my mother in the hospital. She was giving out jam tarts when I first saw her and over the years we have always celebrated our anniversary with jam tarts.”
He said he thought the secret to their long happy relationship was down to him following the golden rule: “Do as you are told.”
Their daughter Maureen Robinson, who lives in Canada and was unable to make the celebration, said: “Mum and Dad spent their working lives in London; Mum was a medical secretary and loved it while Dad was in the Sea Cadets and was sent to the Norfolk Broads for training.
“Their first flat had a shared water tap two floors below. Eventually they found a lovely house and got a mortgage that cost just £40 a month.
“They began taking holidays on the Broads more than 35 years ago and made many good friends. The first motorboat they owned, the Patricia, was featured on a postcard sold at Roy’s for many years.”
She said the lure of the wildlife brought them to the Broads when they retired 20 years ago.
“There was also the attraction of Roy’s of Wroxham, Latham’s and all their boating friends,” she said.
The couple, who have a son and daughter and five granddaughters, have enjoyed countless country walks around the Broads over the years.
“Mum and Dad were also always pleased to host friends on their boat, including those who had arrived from Canada on the QE2 and were returning on Concord,” said Mrs Robinson.