When Fred Knight booked a room at the Grand Metropole Hotel in Blackpool some 60 years ago, he had no idea that he would meet the love of his life, who was staying just down the corridor.
It must have been fate that set 94-year-old Fred off on holiday at the same time as Dreda Knight, from Liverpool, who almost cancelled her trip.
Eighty-six-year-old Dreda, who moved to Portsmouth to be with Fred, says: ‘I was originally going to Blackpool with a friend but she let me down, so my mother suggested I take my 10-year-old sister Barbara instead.
‘I was 25, so of course people thought I was either single or married with a child.’
The couple saw each other a few times at the hotel restaurant and in the corridor, before Fred plucked up the courage to talk to his wife-to-be.
He says: ‘One morning I went out for a walk along the promenade and as I was coming back, I saw Dreda coming out of the hotel.
‘I asked her if she was on her own and she said yes, so then I asked her if she’d like to come up Blackpool Tower with me.
‘We had a coffee up there and then chatted for the rest of the week after also going to the ballroom, but of course I had to go home a few days later.’
Luckily for Fred, Dreda asked for his address so she could send him copies of the photographs they had taken together.
The couple kept in contact and visited each other’s home cities before becoming engaged a few months later, after Fred asked Dreda to marry him on the train to London.
Dreda says: ‘I asked Fred where we’d live and he suggested Portsmouth because he already had a job there.
‘I agreed because I didn’t mind making the move for him.’
The couple married in Liverpool at St Aloysius Church in 1956. They have four children: Fred, 59, Ann, 57, Phillip, 54, and Gordon, 49. They also have seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
An anniversary party was held at the weekend in celebration of the couple at their retirement home at Southsea. About 30 guests attended the party, including all of the couple’s immediate family.
Fred says: ‘Dreda and I complement each other very well.
‘A promise lasts a lifetime to me, especially when you promise God you’ll stay with someone forever, I really do think that’s binding and that’s the way I was brought up.
‘Dreda is very caring and I don’t think we’ve ever had a proper row.’
The couple’s daughter Ann says: ‘The party went really well, mum and dad thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was nice to have everyone together.’