Swede dreams are made of this: 50 years of marriage...

Kerstin and Peter Holland with former Bishop of Stockholm, Bishop Caroline Krook
Kerstin and Peter Holland with former Bishop of Stockholm, Bishop Caroline Krook

A COUPLE who met on Hastings Pier and married six months later have celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary surrounded by their children and grandchildren.

Peter Holland, then 26, an RAF officer home on leave, met Kerstin, 19, a Swedish girl studying English for a month in Hastings, at a dance in the summer of 1961.

Kerstin spoke very little English, but they arranged to meet again at the pier the following day, and 2two o’clock at the pier’ became her first conversational English.

They were engaged two weeks later, and married on January 29, 1962, before spending the following decades travelling the world, wherever Peter was posted.

This year on January 29, the couple, now aged 76, and 70, and Hastings residents, celebrated 50 years of marriage by renewing their vows at Ulrika Eleonora Kyrka, the Swedish church in London, in a service presided over by Bishop Caroline Krook, former Bishop of Stockholm.

When asked the secret of a long marriage, Peter said: “It helps to be friends first.

“Whatever it is, after 50 years, we must be doing something right.”

They would like to see Hastings Pier rebuilt, particularly having such a strong connection with the local landmark.

“We are not the only ones,” said Kerstin. “I have spoken to a few people who said they met their husbands at the pier.”

Peter added: “For a number of years we thought about going to the pier for our anniversary, but obviously that wasn’t possible.”

He tells of family life in the RAF, and his youth in Hastings, in his recent book, Salute He Moves, published by Woodfield Publishing.