Had the temperatures on the day that Ruth and Bob Withers met been just that little bit higher, it’s very likely the couple would not be celebrating 60 years of marriage today.
The Withersfield couple were drawn together, partly through the intervention of the elements, on the day in January 1954 that Ruth was a bridesmaid at her brother Jim’s wedding.
Bob, then just 17, had been asked to taxi some of Ruth’s family from Hempstead to the wedding reception in Stisted, leading to their first encounter.
Bob, now 81, explained: “It was a very cold day so the drivers were asked in to the reception were Ruth and I got chatting.”
Cupid’s arrow had clearly stuck as the next day Bob drove to Hempstead to see Ruth, and the two of them had their first date at Gosfield Lake, where it was so cold the water had frozen over.
“I was shaking,” said Bob. “I still don’t know if it was the cold or the excitement.
“We just seemed to get on and we still do and just wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.
“It really doesn’t seem like 60 years since we met.”
It is a sentiment echoed by Ruth, now 79, who said: “We have been fortunate really, haven’t we.”
Ruth and Bob, who in a strange statistical quirk are each the youngest of seven children, were married at Hempstead Parish Church on September 14, 1957 and had the reception in the village hall before taking their honeymoon in Great Yarmouth.
Both have been retired now for a number of years and they have one son Andrew, 54, who lives in Dorset and one granddaughter, Emma, who is about to start at university.
They share many interests, including playing carpet bowls at Withersfield Bowls Club, where Bob in chairman, and tending to their garden.