Honesty is the best policy for a Lancaster couple who have just celebrated 60 years of happy marriage
Ray and Vera Bateson enjoyed a family meal at the weekend after having to spend their anniversary at a hospital appointment.
Vera, now 79, was born in Morecambe, moving to Lancaster at the age of two and attending the former Greaves School.
Ray, meanwhile, is a born and bred Lancastrian, attending the former National Boys’ School.
The couple met at the Floral Hall in Morecambe, dating for two years before they married at the Priory Church on September 7 1957 when Ray was 23 and Vera just 19.
However, their honeymoon was a bit of a non-starter as they travelled by train to London, where Vera refused to stay after “not liking the look of the mattress”.
Instead, the pair spent a week in Manchester at Vera’s Auntie Dot’s house.
“We look back and laugh about it now,” Vera said.
“At the time Ray was shocked; he just looked at me.”
After the wedding the couple lived with Ray’s mum in Lancaster, and Vera worked at the Williamson’s factory while Ray started work on the railways as a cleaner, eventually working his way up to become a driver.
Vera later worked at Woolworth’s until it closed down, when she moved on to work on a shoe stall in Lancaster market until she was 61.
Ray, who underwent a triple bypass in 1999, took redundancy from the railways and worked as a brewer for Mitchell’s before taking early retirement.
However, after a week he was bored and took on a lollipop man job for Moorside Primary School, staying for almost 10 years and earning himself an award in the process.
Unfortunately for the couple, they spent their anniversary on Thursday at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal where Ray, now 83, was having a new pacemaker fitted – and coincidentally his bypass surgery was also on their anniversary 18 years ago!
“We just take it all in our stride,” Vera said.
The couple, who live in Water Street, have two sons, Michael and Kevin, four grandchildren, Hannah, Adam, Matthew and Charlotte, and three great-grandchildren, Ruby, Liam and Ellie.
The family enjoyed a Sunday lunch at the Tollhouse in Lancaster at the weekend to celebrate Ray and Vera’s 60-year achievement, which Vera puts down largely to honesty in a relationship.
“You just have to take all the ups and downs,” she said.
“And you should never go to bed on a row, and always be honest with each other.
“If you are honest and truthful then it goes well.”