Couple living in Marston Moretaine care home celebrated their 70th Valentine's Day - and share their love story

Ray proposed by the River Ouse in Bedford
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Ray and Audrey Ward, a couple living at Blakelands Lodge care home, have been sharing their love story after spending their 70th Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

Audrey met Ray in 1950 during her time training to be a nurse in Cranfield. Ray was admitted to the hospital after having surgery on his appendix and was waiting to join the Merchant Navy.

The pair courted for one year until Ray proposed by the River Ouse in Bedford near the town bridge. Audrey continued: “It was late evening lit by the moonlight and the proposal was very romantic. We were engaged for two years following that beautiful night.”

Audrey and Ray on their 70th AnniversaryAudrey and Ray on their 70th Anniversary
Audrey and Ray on their 70th Anniversary

In September 1953, Ray and Audrey married at Kempston Parish Church. Audrey explained: “My wedding dress was made by my friend’s mum using material I had collected using coupons at a Saturday market.

“It was a beautiful white strapless dress; it was a bolero style. The dress had a collar and a gorgeous long veil. I was an evacuee, so I was living with my friend’s mum before the wedding. She helped me get dressed that morning for my wedding day.”

Audrey reminisced about one memory in particular: “Ray arrived with his best man in a two-seater car. I remember them both going circles around Stewartby roundabout laughing, which was a sight; two men dressed in merchant navy uniform swinging around this roundabout laughing!

“I describe the day as ‘cheap and cheerful’ – it holds so many special memories. We’ve been married for 70 years now and we’re very happy. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Ray and Audrey on their wedding dayRay and Audrey on their wedding day
Ray and Audrey on their wedding day

This Valentine’s Day, Audrey and Ray enjoyed romantic meal together at Blakelands Lodge alongside their friends in the home.

James Eeles-Feeney, the Home Manager at Blakelands Lodge, said: “We feel privileged that Audrey and Ray have shared their love story with us, and even more so that we were lucky enough to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with them.”

To find out more about Blakelands Lodge, call 01234 862 629 or email [email protected].

Blakelands Lodge is a residential and dementia care home operated by Ideal Carehomes. With 66 ensuite bedrooms, attractive décor and freely accessible gardens, Blakelands Lodge is welcoming new residents for short- and long-term placements with a unique all-inclusive fee to give peace of mind to residents and their families.

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