IT WAS more than 70 years ago that Ron Page first asked Sheila, who would become his wife, for a dance.
The Stonehouse couple, who have just celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary, met at a dance at the Blue Ballroom on Eastbourne pier in July 1949, where they shared a slow foxtrot together.
Sheila, who grew up in Westend, Stonehouse, was on holiday there with a friend.
Ron walked Sheila to the station and asked her ‘to keep her ring finger for him’.
“He was about to head out to Singapore with the RAF for two and a half years, and he didn’t want to lose me,” said Sheila.
Seven months later, the couple were married at Eastington Church.
Sheila then moved in with Ron’s mum in Eastbourne, while Ron headed back to south east Asia.
The couple’s first child, Clive was born and when he was 11-months-old, Sheila and the baby headed out to Hong Kong to join Ron.
They travelled on board an ocean liner, the SS Empire Fowey, a journey which took them seven weeks and went via Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and India.
After Ron’s two and a half year tour, they returned to the UK, where their second child, Angela was born.
Ron was posted to Gan, a small island only 1¾ miles long in the Maldives.
Gan is an “unaccompanied post”—the only one in the RAF—and that means unaccompanied by wives or girl friends, because there is no room for them on the island.
The family returned to Sheila’s hometown of Stonehouse, where Sheila worked for a time as a secretary at Wellington and Clifford solicitors in Stroud, but stopped working at 52 to look after Ron’s parents, who came to live with them.
Sheila says the secret to a long and happy marriage is to “love him, feed him and stay with him”.
Sheila, 89, and Ron, who will be 94 in April, now enjoy pottering around at home and love spending time with their family, which has now expanded to include four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Photos by Simon Pizzey (simon-pizzey.squarespace.com/).