A WINCHESTER couple recently marked 70 years of marriage.

Roy and Sylvia Williams were married on April 26 1952, at Christ Church Winchester by Revd Blissard Barnes.

They currently live in Springvale with Roy at 96-years-old and Sylvia at 90.

The couple's daughter, Rachel Williams, explained the chaotic nature of their wedding day.

She said: “The wedding had been due to take place at an earlier date, but Sylvia had been admitted to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital with glandular fever and they missed the deadline to get tax relief by getting married in the new tax year!

“Roy remembers that he’d been working for his father whose bakery business was ‘G Williams and son’ in Sussex Street, Winchester, the morning of the day of the wedding, delivering bread. His shift began at 4am and he was on his last delivery in Greenhill Road, delivering to a Mrs Bramble.

“Mrs Bramble was shocked that Roy was still working at 11.30am on the day of his wedding, due in less than two hours at the church, but he made it in time, albeit with a hole in his sock which the congregation spotted as he knelt at the altar, and they all enjoyed a good laugh about it!

“Harry Adlem gave away his daughter, and amongst the guests of family and friends were Mrs Bramble and her daughter, Millie.

“The young couple took their honeymoon in London, four nights bed and breakfast at the Strand Palace Hotel at a cost of 12/6d a night then returned on the Wednesday to their home, a ‘one up one down’ shack they had purchased for £300 opposite the Perseverance Inn in Canon Street, Winchester.”

At age 14 Roy began his work life at Steels Funeral Directors in Winchester until he was 18. He was taken in to hospital to have an appendix removal and was there for his 18th birthday when he received his call up to join the war. He joined the RAF and did a carpentry course, gaining a 75 per cent pass and automatically became a Leading Air craftsman (LAC). His wage doubled on gaining this, from three shillings a day to six shillings.

In August 1944 he moved from Normandy to Ghent in Belgium and stayed there for the rest of the war. He was released from duty with a B class release because his carpentry skills were needed back home in Blighty.

He returned to Steels and then joined his fathers bakery business, delivering bread, where he met Sylvia, who was then about 17 years old and they began courting. Sylvia was employed at Kingsley Dennis in Jewry Street making chocolates, where she worked for about five years.

The bakery business fell apart with the advent of the bread slicing machine, which was far too expensive for the small firm to purchase, so Roy went to work on the railways, which he hated, at a wage of £7 a week and after only three weeks he left to work in the building trade, getting a wage of £10 a week.

After the couple moved to Canon Street, they purchased some half an acre of land to build their next home in Headbourne Worthy at a cost of £110. They sacrificed any social life or costly outings, using their money to buy building materials, and when Roy heard that a signal box, providing much of the timber and slate tiles required, was up for auction he made enquiries and put in a bid of £7 and 10 shillings, which he won.

He paid Mr Wheeler who had a coal delivery wagon and regularly drank at his fathers pub (The Gladstone arms in Sussex Street) to help deliver the signal box from the Kings Worthy Railway Station, part of the old Great Western Railway.

Hampshire Chronicle: Roy and Sylvia Williams on their wedding day

Roy would cycle from Canon Street to Headbourne Worthy most weekends to work on building the three bedroom bungalow that was to be their home for the next 53 years. A bricklayer named Charlie came to help but Roy would arrive early to get prepared with mixing cement and would stay late to tidy up and put things away.

Sylvia often walked from Canon Street to Headbourne Worthy with the baby in a pram and lunch for Roy and herself to share, and then she would walk home again. They moved in in 1958, having a mortgage of £500 to complete the build, and sold the little house in Canon Street for £370 to the council.

Roy and Sylvia have three children who were bought up in the bungalow in Springvale Road. Roy and Sylvia moved out in 2011 to move into a neighbouring property which was part of the development they had also sold the Bungalow too.

From the window they were able to watch the home they had built together and raised a family in be demolished, and a new houses built in its place. They are still there, and still happy together.

Message from the editor Kimberley Barber

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