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Platinum wedding anniversary celebrations

28 November 2017

To celebrate the Queen and Prince Philip's 70th wedding anniversary in November this year, Mendip District Council asked for local couples also celebrating their Platinum wedding anniversary in 2017 to come forward and celebrate with us.

Cllr Edward Drewe, Mrs Mary Parsons (sister), Yvonne Fouracre (daughter), Mrs  Joan Perry and Helen Perry (daughter), Cllr Nick Cottle

Three couples in Mendip who have all celebrated their 70th wedding anniversaries this year came forward to share their stories. Don & Jean Kay from Glastonbury, Bill & Joan Perry from Glastonbury, and Frank & Dorothy Beecher from Shepton Mallet who all married in 1947. Cllr Edward Drewe, accompanied by Cllr John Brunsdon MBE and Cllr Nick Cottle visited the couples at their homes to present them with a special gift and offer their congratulations.    
 
Don & Jean Kay got engaged on New Year's Eve 1946 and married in August 1947. One of the traditions that they have carried through their marriage is that they always see the New Year in together. Jean and Don were aware of each other as they travelled to their schools on the same bus but didn't meet again until the war was over and Don was on his de-mob leave. Don was in the army and conscripted into the Grenadier Guards and was on duty at Windsor Castle. He was then selected for Officer training and posted to Bangalore in India where he gained his Commission and served on the North West Frontier, attached to the Indian army, until the war ended when he returned to civilian life and teaching. Both were teachers, Don taught metalwork, woodwork and technical drawing overseas for the The British Families Education Service (BFES) which was an organisation set up by the British Government in 1946 to run schools for the children of British military and government personnel serving. Jean taught at a Junior school in Kent until having a family and going overseas. She is a talented spinner and seamstress and made her wedding dress from a parachute. She now continues to use her talents and has a weekly stall at the Country Market in Glastonbury where she sells her beautifully crafted felt pictures. Family is very important to the couple who have 4 children and 4 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and have great memories spent with their children whilst stationed overseas caravanning and exploring Europe. 
 
Bill and Joan Perry met one evening whilst out with friends in Glastonbury High Street, and after a 2 year engagement married in the May of 1947.  Lilly of the Valley have always been a symbol for Bill and Joan as the flowers were contained in Joan's wedding bouquet and every anniversary the flowers are a lovely reminder of this special day. Joan has lived in Glastonbury all of her life and Bill, originally from Bristol, moved to Glastonbury to work on a farm to up his fitness as he was keen to join the Air Force, however when he went to sign up he found he was exempt due to his important work on the farm and stayed in Glastonbury. Bill always had a passion for the Air Force and one of his hobbies was building model aeroplanes. Joan has always worked locally one was delivering bread for Taylor's Bakery in Glastonbury and then working at St Benedict's School as a dinner lady and assistant cook, retiring after 23 years' service.  Bill and Joan had 7 children which included 2 sets of twins, and have 12 surviving grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great grandchildren.  The family are very talented in crafts, woodwork and dressmaking.  Bill peacefully passed away shortly after the couple's 70th wedding anniversary and is greatly missed but leaves a wonderful legacy. The family would like to thank St Benedict's Nursing Home for the great care they gave their beloved husband, father, grandfather.        

Frank and Dorothy Beecher married on the 13th September 1947, and the number 13 has since always been their lucky number. Frank was in the Royal Navy and was part of the Guard of Honor during the signing of the Japanese Surrender in September 1945. He proudly wore his de-mob suit for their wedding on his return.  Originally from Kent, Frank and Dorothy moved to Shepton Mallet 30 years ago when they retired in 1987 to spend more time with their family, they have 3 children, 5 grand-children, and 9 great-grandchildren.  Frank is involved with the Royal British Legion in Shepton Mallet and really enjoys being part of the community.  
 
Cllr Edward Drewe, Chair of Mendip District Council, said: "It was great to recognise the Queen and Prince Philip's special anniversary by offering residents of Mendip who are also celebrating their Platinum wedding anniversary a special gift.  It was wonderful to meet the families and hear the stories about how they met, and we would like to thank them all for welcoming us in to their homes."

Last modified: 29 November 2017