WHEN 15-year-old Vi Simmons went roller skating at the former Olympia building in Old Town she ended up being swept off her feet in more ways than one.
For also flying around the George Street venue that spring evening in 1942 was fellow teenager and family friend Harry Bailey. As their parents were friends, it was the perfect opportunity for Harry to ask Vi for a date.
It was the start of a lifelong relationship and the couple have just celebrated their blue sapphire wedding anniversary of 65 years.
“We just bumped into each other,” said Vi, who is now 85. “He asked me for a date and we’ve been together ever since.”
The couple dated for three years before Harry joined the Navy in the Spring of 1945 just before the end of the Second World War.
He was posted to Malta for two years but the couple constantly wrote to each other.
One of Harry’s letters asked for Vi’s hand in marriage when he returned home.
But her parents urged her to wait until she was 21 to tie the knot.
Harry was due to return home in June 1947 but was six months late.
He returned home on December 17, 1947 and three days later the couple married at St Clements Church in the Old Town. He left the Navy in March 1948.
They moved in with his parents in Exmouth Place in the Old Town where they stayed
for two years. Harry worked as a lorry driver and Vi worked at a factory which make television sets.
In 1949 they rented their own flat in Exmouth Place and their only son David was born the following year.
Over the next 15 years they rented several properties before they bought their first bungalow.
In 1981 they moved to their current address in St Dominic’s Close off Filsham Road.
Last month they enjoyed a family party at Leeford Place Hotel near Battle said: “Harry reckons the secret of a long and successful marriage is to always do what he tells me.
“But I say you just have to work hard at it. You both have to make the effort.”