Widley couple prove opposites attract as they celebrate their 60th anniversary
When Elizabeth McIntyre and Ronald Christian danced together at a Scottish ballroom, neither one of them knew they had met their soulmate.
‘I actually had a boyfriend at the time when I met Ronald,’ laughs Elizabeth.
‘He was away playing hockey and I didn’t want to stay in that weekend so I went to the Kinema Ballroom in Dumfermline and I met Ronald there. He was so shy but I asked him for the ladies’ choice dance and then he asked me for the last one.
‘We got the bus home together and I got off at Rosyth and he got off at HMS Caledonia where he was based.
‘I rang my boyfriend that night and said I was finished with him.’
Ronald, 82 and originally from Surrey, was training in the Royal Navy when he met Elizabeth, who is from Rosyth, Scotland.
‘We dated for two years,’ says Elizabeth, 80.
‘We broke up for a while when he went away with the navy. My mother kept on saying: “You can’t be staying in waiting for that fellow”.
‘But when he came back, he knocked on my door and we started where we left off.’
The couple got engaged during Easter 1958 and were married the following March.
‘I was waving him off at a train station – I have spent half my life waving him off,’ she laughs.
‘And he leaned out the window and said “next time, I will bring a ring”.
On March 30, 1959 – which was Easter Monday that year – Elizabeth and Ronald were wed at The Catholic Church of Saint John and Saint Columba, Rosyth.
‘Ronald arrived the night before because he was based in Kent at the time,’ says Elizabeth.
‘I was so happy and excited. It was simple but perfect.’
The Christians honeymooned in Looe, Cornwall, for two weeks, which Elizabeth describes as ‘fantastic’.
After her wedding, Elizabeth says she never returned to Scotland permanently and followed Ronald everywhere she could while he was in the navy.
Elizabeth says: ‘I got a job in a tax office and moved to Kent to be nearer to Ronald. He then moved to Portsmouth and I served ice cream on the seafront for a while.
‘I found out I was pregnant and Ronald was posted away again, so I moved back to Scotland to be with my mum.’
The Christians have four children: Karina, Richard, Julia and Victoria. The family spent time in Portsmouth, then Weymouth for nine months and then Plymouth for eight years until Ron began officer training in Portsmouth.
‘We permanently moved to Eastney and I got a job as an income tax officer,’ explains Elizabeth.
At 52 years old, Elizabeth decided to study an access course at South Downs College so she could study English Literature at the University of Chichester. She achieved a first class honours and went on to complete her masters at the University of Southampton.
‘I loved it’, says Elizabeth. ‘I then got a job teaching access course at the University of Portsmouth.’
‘Ronald rose through the ranks to Lieutenant Commander RN. He then worked for nine years at the Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, and restored a lot of artefacts such as cannons.’
To celebrate their diamond anniversary, Ronald and Elizabeth – who live in Widley – watched Jersey Boys at the Mayflower, Southampton. They also enjoyed a tea party hosted by their daughter Karina with all the family, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They are now looking forward to a holiday in Somerset.
‘If you have an argument, you should get over it and just move on,’ says Elizabeth.
‘Ronald makes me laugh – he always has. We’re complete opposites.
‘People should always stop looking for better and see what they have in front of them – but I really couldn’t have got better anyway.’