IT was the most well-timed ‘Will you dance with me?’ one could imagine.
The proposition by Havant mayor Paul Buckley, then a Royal Navy sailor, has led to 40 years of happy marriage with his wife, mayoress Jackie Buckley.
Now the pair are planning to celebrate their ruby wedding in style by holding a 40th anniversary bash at Waterlooville Community Centre – and the public are invited along.
The lovebirds are hoping anyone celebrating a 40th anniversary of any kind – whether it be a wedding or birthday – will attend to raise money for charity.
Mrs Buckley said: ‘We are both passionate about charity, so we thought this would be a good way of raising some money and meeting other people who are celebrating 40 and having a bit of fun.’
The pair might never have met but for a chance sequence of events.
Jackie went out for a drink and got chatting to a sailor, who was attached to HMS Albion, which was docked in Portsmouth in the summer of 1972.
He invited her to a ladies’ night on board the ship the following night.
But to Jackie’s dismay, she was introduced to the sailor’s girlfriend and the date was actually the sailor’s brother.
Later that evening, Paul asked Jackie to dance.
He explained: ‘I had only just got on the ship and didn’t know anyone at all. I thought here’s an attractive girl who does not seem to be enjoying herself, I will take a chance and ask her to dance.’
Just a few days later, Paul set sail for Canada, but a blossoming romance had already begun.
The couple, who now live in Waterlooville, were married on September 1, 1973, at the Church of the Resurrection in Drayton and celebrated their honeymoon in Corfu. They went on to have two children, with Paul becoming a lieutenant commander before retiring.
WHAT IS THE MAYOR’S SECRET TO WEDDED BLISS?
THE secret to a happy marriage is trusting each other and having your own independence, the Buckleys said.
Cllr Buckley, who is the 40th mayor of Havant, said: ‘For the first 17 years of marriage I was away for most of it. You always have that rekindling as you come back.’
Mrs Buckley added: ‘Talk to each other and trust each other.’
Tickets, costing £7.50, are now on sale for the 40th dance party on Saturday, September 14, from 7pm to 11pm. Call (023) 92 446152 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds go to Relate, Combat Stress and The Stroke Association.