A couple, Shirley and Jack, who met as accidental pen pals are now celebrating 60 years of marriage, a rarity in this day and age.
Sherry Kerrigan, 78, and Jack Godley, 82, have five children – Karen, Kevan, Donna, Lisa, and Debra, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren but who would have believed that all it took was for a 15 year old Shirley to respond to an advertisement in a newspaper by a seaman looking for a penpal
Jack says he received letters from different girls and passed some onto some of his shipmates at HMS Ganges in Ipswich but he accepted Shirley’s letter and he was only just 19.
After the first letter, they continued writing to one another and were able to meet in person a year later when Jack was home on leave from a tour in the Far East.
After he returned the pair fell in love and he wrote a letter to Shirley’s dad, George, asking for permission to marry her before buying a ring and proposing on his next trip home.
They have just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Shirley said: ‘I’m glad it ended up with him. I do think it was fate.
‘The other sailor got a sack full and he said “here you go Ginge” – that’s what they called Jack in the navy. He said, “there’s one from Sheffield you can have that one”.
‘My dad wasn’t right keen – he didn’t know I had written off to them.’
They tied the knot at Ecclesfield Church after Jack arrived into Portsmouth on the aircraft HMS Centaur on 28 April 1960.
After 60 years of married life, Jack said it is their different personalities that have made their love last.
He said: ‘We’ll we’re opposites aren’t we, me and Shirley. Opposites attract. That’s why we have lasted.
‘Well, that and doing what I am told.’
Speaking about the lockdown anniversary celebration, Shirley said: ‘We usually go out and we do a meal somewhere.
‘With all this Covid-19 blowing up it was just like a normal day. We didn’t do anything special. We’re planning to celebrate properly when it’s all over.’
More photos below…