An Oakham couple are celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss.
Mike and June Churchill,of Lodge Gardens, reached the landmark anniversary yesterday, and celebrated with a romantic meal at Launde Abbey.
The couple met at a YWCA dance in Leicester in 1954 when Mike was studying in his final year at Loughborough College and June was teaching in Leicester.
Mike, 85, said: “I wouldn’t exactly say our eyes locked on each other and we knew there and then. June was actually waiting for somebody else, but he never showed up.”
The two remained in touch, with June sending Mike a box of sweets while he was doing his final exams.
Mike said: “The sweets swung it for me and I knew there and then that this was the woman for me.”
The couple began seeing each other, with June visiting Mike on the Isle of Wight, and when Mike then began studying aerodynamic engineering at Cranfield, Mike sent June a box of flowers which were growing on the coastline of the island.
June, 86, said: “It was a lovely gesture and the flowers reminded me of some nice walks on the island.”
Before long Mike proposed, but June rejected his initial advance.She says: “We were only seeing each other at weekends, so how could I say yes?”
However, Mike never gave up and his persistence paid off in 1957 when the couple got engaged.
After getting married in St Mary’s Church in Stamford, the couple had their reception in the town’s masonic hall before honeymooning in Paris.
Mike’s job meant the couple moved to Cheshire before setting up home in Oakham in 1996.
So, what is the secret to success? According to June it’s love and affection, and always putting on a united front. She said: “We’ve always stood together, especially where the children are concerned. If I said no, the children knew not to ask Mike, because they knew his answer would be the same as mine.”
The duo will celebrate with a meal for 50 friends and family at the William Cecil in Stamford on Sunday, and will be joined by their children, Jonathan, Caroline and Sarah, and their five grandchildren.