Long loving Horsham couple Iris and Ernest Balliger are celebrating a 70th wedding anniversary.
And Iris believes their secret was spending so much time together and being in love.
Romance was certainly on the radar when Iris, now 95, and Ernest, now 93, of Smithbarn, Horsham, met on Ernest’s 21st birthday as radar workers at RAF Barkway in Hertfordshire. They were moved to RAF Stenigot in Lincolnshire and were later moved to other stations around the country during the war.
Iris’s family lived in Nottingham at this time and Ernest’s parents lived in Kilburn, London.
After they were married at Chilwell Methodist Church, Beeston, Nottingham on May 26 1945, their reception food was goods bought through ration cards saved by family members. Ernest had fortunately saved a stock of wine from before the war.
To the delight of Iris, Ernest showed a talent for using a sewing machine, making curtains and many costumes for his son and daughter. He has always loved drawing, walking and gardening.
Irish was the sporty one, playing hockey and tennis and maintaining an interest in all kinds of sport to this day. She also loved walking and they both did a lot of it in the Swiss Alps during summer holidays.
After their wartime duties Ernest worked for the London County Council, which later became the Greater London Council, in the treasury department. He also worked in the evenings at
Kensington Evening Institute, adult education, in administration.
Iris brought up the family, son Nick and daughter Verena (now Beane) and in the early 1960’s worked also at the Evening Institute for the next 20 years. Ernest retired from the treasury department in 1980 and the couple have lived in Horsham for 30 years. They have three grandchildren Ben, 34, James, 32, and Emma 39, and Ben’s wife is Helen is expecting a child in November. Iris and Ernest manage to live at home with the help of a carer.
Asked by the Post what their platinum secret for being married for 70 years is Iris said: ‘Because we love each other and enjoy each other’s company. We have virtually spent no time apart since we got married’.
Their son Nick Balliger said: “A platinum anniversary is more unusual. I
suppose they will get more common as people will live longer. We are very proud of them.”