Happy pair still waltzing along after 60 years

Audrey and Ralph Mortimer celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary. Picture Richard Ponter 123815a
Audrey and Ralph Mortimer celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary. Picture Richard Ponter 123815a

They met as teenagers at Scarborough’s Olympia Ballroom in the late 1940s, where they regularly danced the night away with friends.

Now, more than 60 years later, Ralph and Audrey Mortimer remain inseparable as they celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

The couple, who live in Queen Street, used to regularly meet up at Wednesday and Friday night dances at the Olympia on the seafront, which was the most popular place of entertainment in town.

And when Ralph, who turns 81 tomorrow, eventually plucked up the courage to ask Audrey if he could walk her home, their long and happy future together was sealed.

Audrey, 81, said: “It was a case of ‘can I walk you home?’ and I was thinking I don’t know what my mum will say! It was very different to how it is now.”

Ralph, who was born in Scarborough, worked as a builder, while fellow Scarborian Audrey worked at Boots, which was on the corner of St Nicholas Street, before joining Quartons fruit and veg.

The couple got married on September 20, 1952 at St Peter’s Church, in Castle Road, the day before Ralph’s 21st birthday.

However, they were together for just four months when Ralph was called up for National Service.

Audrey said: “We got married in September and in January he went abroad to Malaya and I didn’t see him for two years.

“I moved in with his mum and she was wonderful. She took over because both my parents had died and it was like having another family.”

It was a huge relief to Audrey when her husband returned - particularly after having to endure an agonising two months when his patrol went missing in the jungle.

She said: “We didn’t hear anything for 10 weeks and then we got a letter from the captain saying he was safe.

“They had gone out on patrol looking for a patrol that was lost!”

The pair have two sons and a daughter, nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, who are planning a surprise celebration to mark the 60-year matrimonial milestone.

They have put the secret of their successful marriage down to being there for each other and having a good sense of humour.

“You have got to have that when you have all these children and grandchildren,” laughed Audrey. “You have got to be happy.”