Keen Bridgnorth dancers celebrate 70th anniversary
A loving couple who danced together for years after the second world war recently celebrated 70 years of marriage.
Mary Jones, now 88, had to buy her wedding dress with clothing coupons when she married Derek Rudd, 91, in Stottesdon in the postwar years, and the pair marked their platinum anniversary this summer.
They received a card from the Queen at the anniversary celebration, thanks to their oldest daughter Elizabeth Edwards who organised it.
They came from farming families on either side of the Shropshire/Worcestershire border, but have lived in Bridgnorth since 1959 after Derek suffered a farming accident that hurt his back.
They still remember seeing the sky light up over the West Midlands as children, as bombs fell on Birmingham.
The Rudds' daughter Elizabeth said: "Dad and mum met in the winter of 1946/47 when after very heavy snow, dad walked to Chorley with his friend to fetch bread and other supplies for themselves and some other villagers.
"On arriving back in Stottesdon, he saw Mary leaning on the farm gate where she lived and he asked Mary if she would like to go with him to dance classes being held in Stottesdon School, which she did.
"And they have been dancing together ever since! They have really enjoyed ballroom and sequence dancing over the years.
"Dad was a keen crown green bowler having played at Bylet Bowling Club for 50 years (now retired) but was also a well known local football referee in his early days.
"Mum loves knitting and handiwork and has enjoyed making things for Bridgnorth Hospital League of Friends shop. They both love their gardening too."
The couple married at St Mary's Church in Stottesdon in the summer of 1949, and this year they marked their wedding anniversary with a quiet family celebration.
Elizabeth said: "After they moved to Bridgnorth in 1959, dad worked at the Star Aluminium factory in Bridgnorth, working his way up from a storeman on shift work to quality control/customer relations manager.
"Mum enjoyed shop work, working at Audreys, Waterloo House, and Burton's delicatessan – all of which have closed now and become other shop outlets."
Mary and Derek have three children, Elizabeth, who lives nearby in Bridgnorth; Margaret, who now lives in Canada; and Alan who lives in Broseley.
The couple have six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.