CELEBRATING a golden anniversary is usually a good enough excuse for a party.
And with her 70th birthday falling on the same day, Emi White decided it was the perfect opportunity to gather friends and family together under one roof.
But the couple, happily married for 50 years, didn’t want any presents this time and instead vowed to auction off gifts to raise money for a children’s charity that is close to their hearts.
Along with 65 guests at the Innlodge in Burrfields Road, Copnor, close to their home in Copnor Road, Emi and John celebrated their anniversary and raised £1,312 for Silent Voices, a charity their daughter and her twin boys are involved with.
‘I can’t believe that we raised so much money,’ Emi said.
‘We had some wonderful items but it was all down to Paul Ross, the broadcaster, who did the action for us.
‘We had items including some Muhammad Ali memorabilia and an Engelbert Humperdinck signed photo.’
Asked why the couple wanted to forgo the presents and make the event about the charity, Emi said: ‘I am always helping my daughter with the twins.
‘They are seven now; when they were born they were the miracle twins. One was 1lb 1oz and the other 1lb 8oz. There is a group of mums to get together called Silent Voices.
‘This was about celebrating and paying back.
‘I had already asked Paul Ross to help as he is a friend of mine and my family and we knew we didn’t want presents. I did get a few birthday presents but I just asked people to bring something along to sell at the auction.
‘We had such a fabulous time. If I had £1m to spend on it, I could not have had a better time.’
Emi and John, who is 73, met when they worked next to each other in Bournemouth.
‘John was a relief manager at a shoe shop called Bata,’ Emi explained.
‘I worked next door. I went in to buy some stockings.
‘I saw him and thought ‘he looks nice’. We started to chat. I made a hole in the stockings I had bought and took them back.’
The couple dated and married 18 months later.
‘We had a white wedding,’ Emi said. ‘We had a lot of people there.’
The couple have three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.