'I'm going down for this aren't I?'
A couple who spent their youth courting at a famous Derbyshire dance hall have celebrated 60 years of marriage. Tony and Sheila Bishop met when they worked at printers RB Hall in Alexandra Road, Swadlincote, and were regulars at The Rink, where many couples danced the night away.
When asked for the secret to a long and happy marriage is, Sheila said: “Just stick together through the hard times. Nothing is perfect all the time.”
Tony added: “We have had a good life. We have a good family.”
The couple received a card from the late Queen Elizabeth II congratulating them on their 60 years, and celebrated their anniversary – which was on September 8 – with family, reports StaffordshireLive. Remembering one of the first occasions they met, Tony said: “I had a friend who worked at RB Hall and he was having a party at his mum’s. He invited the girls from work along.
“Rock and roll music was just coming out then so we were dancing to Rock Around the Clock (by Bill Haley and His Comets) and the girls were wearing stilettos, which ruined his mum’s new lino.” He recalls that years later his friend’s mother still remembered that night very well.
The pair attended the same Overseal Primary School two years apart, but did not meet until they worked at RB Hall, with Tony being drawn to Sheila’s dancing talents. Tony proposed on the double seats at Swadlincote’s former Majestic cinema just before he was sent to Derby and then Germany for his two-year national service with the Leicestershire Regiment – the couple only saw each other once during this time.
They married at the former Overseal Methodist Church in Woodville Road on on September 8, 1962, before spending a few days in London and getting lost in a meat market while on a walk. Tony spent 22 years at RB Hall, climbing the ranks from apprentice to master bookbinder, before joining Rawdon colliery.
He later become a rail transport officer at Coleorton colliery until the mines were closed down by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory Government. Tony was 50 at the time and worked for another 10 years in various jobs, including as a postman and at Overseal Foods.
Tony, now 83, was born in Islington, London, but aged four he was evacuated to Overseal during the Second World War, along with his mother and two brothers. They lived with a Mr and Mrs Kirby, in Woodville Road.
His father, who had run a fruit stall in London, later joined them taking on a job at Sutton’s Pipeyards in Spring Cottage. However, upon applying, he realised he earned more on his market stall than he did at the pipeyards.
Nevertheless, the family were together in Overseal, moving into a house opposite the school, meaning Tony was never late to class. Sheila, now 81, was born in the same house, in Burton Road, Overseal, that the couple live in now.
She lived with her parents until her father died in 1992. After leaving school at 15, Sheila worked at RB Hall as a bookbinder for 11 years until she gave birth to the couple’s only child, Nicola. She worked at a former shop in Burton Road for 17 years until it became a house.
The couple also share three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Alfie and Poppy. They ran the Overseal Pensioner and Widows fund, which donated money to villagers.
At one point, they raised £5,000 from a cash bingo, which enabled them to donate £5 to every pensioner and widow in the village and help buy a CT scanner for the NHS, which Sheila used when she was diagnosed with a benign tumour in her adrenal gland.
Written by: Admin
'I'm going down for this aren't I?'