Diamond wedding: Barbara and Cyril Bowers
It was in 1953 that a young Barbara went out to meet her date at the Hampton Court Fair near London.
He didn’t show. But little did Barbara know that in a twist of fate she would meet someone else – the love of her life – on the very same day.
Cyril Bowers, 86, is originally from Rowlands Castle but was working at Hampton signal box as a young lad.
‘As I was walking back from the fair, past the level crossing gate, Cyril spoke to me,’ says 80-year-old Barbara.
‘He said, “Didn’t he turn up then?”, to which I said “No”, and then we were chatting for ages.
‘The following week I had to go back over near the crossing and again we ended up talking for a long time.’
The couple went on a date shortly after this and Cyril says he knew he was doing okay because of a conversation he overheard.
‘Barbara told me that she had to go and make a phone call. I heard her on the phone to her friend saying, “Yeah, he’s alright”.’
The couple eventually married at All Saints’ Church in Hampton in 1956.
Cyril, who worked for British Rail for 47 years, says: ‘It’s a fateful thing isnt it? If I hadn’t been a signalman Barbara wouldn’t be here with me now.’
After the wedding, Barbara made the move down to Rowlands Castle and went on to have two children with Cyril, Lesley, 55, and Julia, 53.
The couple also have a granddaughter.
Over the years Cyril and Barbara have spent a lot of their time playing golf.
‘We’ve been members of the Rowlands Castle Golf Club for years,’ Barbara adds.
‘Cyril joined a long time before me and I became a member after him.
‘We’ve had some wonderful away days where we’ve won lots of nice prizes, which we still have in our cabinet.
‘We’ve also had some lovely holidays abroad playing golf with different groups of people.’
Although they like doing things together, this couple have an achievement or two of their own under their belts.
Barbara spent many years fundraising for Cancer Research UK and The Rowans Hospice.
She is still a member of her local support group now and is also a volunteer at the Good Neighbours group in her area.
In 1971 Cyril rescued three children from the electric rail at Portsmouth.
He got a certificate from the Royal Humane Society and from British Rail.
The couple decided to mark their 60 year anniversary last week in the same way they did their 50th – with a celebratory lunch at the Rowlands Castle Golf Club with a big group of family and friends.
Barbara says: ‘It seems only right to celebrate at the club because we’ve been involved there for so many years.
‘It’s unbelievable to think we’ve been married for 60 years. Cyril is very selfless, we’ve had a good and happy life.
‘In a marriage, you need to do things together but also have your own interests. You can’t be in each other’s pockets all the time.’
Cyril adds: ‘You also need to have trust.
‘What do I love about Barbara? She’s bossy, a pretty good cook and a good drinker,’ he chuckles.