It was like 1946 all over again when Ron and Jean Wright celebrated their platinum wedding last month by renewing their vows in the company of family and friends.
Ron, 92, and Jean, 91, celebrated their landmark anniversary with a service at the Christ Church, Gosport, and a party of about 50 guests, who were even dressed in wedding attire.
The couple met during the Second World War in 1945, at The Stage Door Canteen in London.
Portsmouth-born Ron was in the Royal Navy Submarine Service while Jean, from Ipswich, was a Wren stationed in Mill Hill.
‘Ron asked me for a dance,’ says Jean. ‘We kept on dancing and then arranged to meet up the next day.’
Dancing led to devotion when the couple, who have lived in Gosport for over 60 years, married in Jean’s home town the following year.
Ron says: ‘Things could have turned out differently for us. The Japanese war was still going and the submarine I was on was due to go to Australia. But within a month the war ended. so we were together again.’
Jean went down the aisle in a silver lamé dress with a sweetheart neckline.
Shortly after the wedding Jean returned to work as a hairdresser and moved down south with Ron, who left the navy on early release to work as a bricklayer.
The couple went on to have three children, Julie Bennetts, 61, David Wright, 55 and Jan Wright, who died of cancer in 2008 when she was 57. They have six grandchildren and five, soon to be six, great-grandchildren.
‘Jan was a schoolteacher, she was so dedicated to everything she did,’ says Jean.
‘She’s still very much a part of our lives. I always thought any room she walked into lit up because she was there.’
Despite their heartbreak, Ron and Jean say they keep Jan’s memory alive and have had many wonderful times together, and with their family.
Jean says: ‘We all lived in Singapore for three years when Ron worked for the Ministry of Public Building and Works. That was one of the best times of our lives.’
The couple have travelled around the world together, visiting places such as America, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
When asked what the secret is to a successful marriage, Jean says: ‘You just love each other, don’t you?
‘We’ve had a joyous marriage, everything just clicked into place. I couldn’t have asked for a better man.’
The couple’s only remaining nephew, Alan, visited from Scotland to celebrate with them.
‘We’re amazed that we’ve reached this milestone,’ says Ron.