From the Blitz to the Ritz as couple mark 60th year

Gwen and Alan Wood at home in Exley
Gwen and Alan Wood at home in Exley

A COUPLE whose eyes met at a postbox have celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Gwen and Alan Wood’s love story started during the Blitz when the couple lived just one street apart in Hull.

There were plenty of chances for them to meet. They could have met in the air raid shelter that saved their lives as bombs dropped on the city or when they went to the same school but it took until 1949 for this pair’s eyes to finally meet.

After the war Gwen got a job on the outskirts of Hull and Alan was conscripted into the army for two years, serving in Malaysia.

On his return Alan’s mother asked him to post a letter and while he was there, so was Gwen.

The letterbox had added significance of a reminder of how close they had been to losing their lives as the postbox was the only thing left standing after the bombs hit.

“I saw this girl and she asked if she could post her letters. I looked at her and followed her all the way to where she was going because I fancied her.

“I just thought, I’d like to see that girl again.”

He followed Gwen into the shop where she - and his sister Irene - worked and asked his sister if he knew of her.

Alan handed Gwen a note asking her to go to the pictures, and there in the Ritz cinema as they watched a western starring Randolph Scott the couple fell for each other.

The couple married on Boxing Day 1951 in Withernsea.

They brought up their six children at their home in Thornton, Bradford, before moving to Elland Hall Farm, Exley Lane, in 1988.

Alan worked for 25 years at Allied Industrial Services and after his retirement he put his vocal chords to good use entertaining people in nursing homes, hospitals and day centres before he retired from singing in 2006.

Their secret is sharing. Gwen, 79, said: “Share and share alike. We have had our struggles but we’ve come through them.”

Alan, 82, said: “We’ve never had any big fallouts and you have to respect each other and loving each other all the time. You have to tell your partner you love them, all the time.”

The couple celebrated their milestone with their family and their 16 grandchildren.