Lovestruck teenagers celebrate 60 years of marriage in Brackley
Betty Blake made the right choice when she asked Keith Lloyd to partner her during a 'ladies excuse-me' at a Chester dance hall in 1959.
The two never looked back and celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on January 23. They celebrated with 21 family members and friends at a dinner at their favourite pub, The Greyhound in Brackley - and at the heart of the gathering was their four-day-old, new-born great granddaughter, Elsie.
"One evening I was sitting with a friend in the Majestic Ballroom in Chester and there was a ladies' excuse me," said Mr Lloyd.
"Betty intervened and imposed herself on me and she's been going so ever since," he joked. "I was a bread delivery man and Betty worked in the handbag section of a local department store. We were teenagers having fun; Betty was 19 and I was 18. We got married at Chester Town Hall the following year."
Their first daughter, Stephanie was born and the three lived in flats and rooms, as they were too young to qualify for a council house.
Life was tough as Mr Lloyd held down three jobs - working nights in a paper mill, a lunchtime bar job and as an afternoon platform porter at the local station. He then took the option of joining the Welsh Guards with whom he spent five years, enjoying touring with the Welsh Guards' Choir and where his duties included protection of the Royal Family.
"There were big gaps in home life as I worked abroad but I did get lots of leave. After five years I left the service and became a commercial traveller, driving a Morris Minor with a boot full of Weetabix and Whitworths dried fruit to a lot of shops in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire that became the first supermarkets," he said.
Mr Lloyd became a sales promotion manager with a paper-ware company and then the family - now with three daughters - moved to Brackley to run a stationary manufacturing company in Oxford. Over the years, Mrs Lloyd has worked as a cleaner, in a chicken factory and as a nurse.
The couple visited and fell in love with Cyprus and moved there in 2003 and stayed until 2019 when they came home to be closer to their expanding family. They now have seven grandchildren and three great-granddaughters.
"We've worked at our marriage because come hell or high water, nothing was going to break the commitment we made. We have had great fun and the joy of our daughters has been irreplaceable," said Mr Lloyd. "We have never fallen out of love. We have 'stickability' and we have put up with the difficulties and got on with the responsibility of our marriage and children."
Mr and Mrs Lloyd received a card and message of congratulations from HM The Queen.