A well-known couple from Bourne had a service of blessing to mark 60 years of marriage, attended by more than 100 friends and family.
Peter and Gladys Rowland, of Mercia Gardens, Bourne, marked their diamond wedding anniversary with the service held at Bourne Methodist Church on Saturday, October 3, where the couple are both familiar faces, followed by a party.
The current minister, the Rev Ann Bossingham, led the service while the couple’s close friend the Rev Alison Richards also gave an address.
Instead of gifts, they asked for donations to Action for Children and Dementia Care which raised £770.
They continued the celebrations into the evening with a family party at The Wishing Well in Dyke and spent their anniversary enjoying a break at Wells-Next-The-Sea, where they received a photo album from their celebrations.
The couple met when they were both members of Nottingham Clarion Cycling Club in 1951.
For Peter, it was love at first sight and while he was in the Royal Air Force during his national service between 1952 and 1954, he wrote daily letters to Gladys from his base in Norfolk but she admits she didn’t respond daily! But when he returned, the couple married at St Margaret’s Church in Nottingham on October 8, 1955.
They spent the early years of their marriage living in Leighton Buzzard, Market Harborough, Sleaford and Ancaster - moving due to Peter’s work as a quantity surveyor.
Even today, at the age of 81, Peter lends a hand when he’s required at the firm he co-owns in Sleaford.
Gladys didn’t work for 15 years while she was raising her daughters Susan and Linda, but it was shortly after returning to work that the opportunity to run her own shop came about in Bourne and in 1977, she opened The Sewing Centre which later changed its name to Rowland’s. Gladys retired in 2004 and the shop closed but even today, people bemoan the fact it’s shut!
Becoming an integral part of the community has always been important to the couple and they’re proud that in each of the areas they’ve lived, Peter has set up a thriving Boys Brigade.
Peter is a member of the Bourne Rotary Club, while Gladys, 83, is a member of the Inner Wheel Club.
In 1992, the couple set up a Christmas Tree Festival at Bourne Methodist Church.
It is these interests, which Gladys believes have been the key to a long marriage.
She said: “I think you should enjoy and love the time you spend together but equally it is important to keep time for yourself. We have both had our own interests and own things to work for, as well as working together.”
Peter said being tolerant was also important.
Although they especially requested no gifts - their first great grandchildren made an appearance during their diamond wedding anniversary year - Isla, now six months, who is the daughter of Emma, and Cooper, now three months, who is the son of Jonathan.
The couple, who also have three other grandchildren in Stuart, Kelly and Kimberley, are extremely close to their family.
In their rare free time, they can be found at Trent Bridge as they are members of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and Peter is also a season ticket holder at Peterborough United.