A CHANCE meeting after the war led to long-lasting love for a Worcestershire couple.

John and Milly Ranford, of Elgar Drive, Kempsey, near Worcester, are celebrating their 65th, or blue sapphire, wedding.

The couple originally met while in school, but did not find love until Mr Ranford returned from the Second World War after serving with the Royal Navy. Mrs Ranford, aged 87, said: “We bumped into each other at school. He was at King’s and I was at what became the grammar school – the secondary school for girls in Barbourne.

“He went into the Royal Navy during the war. When he came out, I bumped into him again.

“He was on his bike in the high street, waiting for the lights to change if I remember, so I went over to speak to him. He asked what I was doing on Saturday night and we went to the dance at Droitwich.”

After about two years of dating, the couple were married at Kempsey church by an ex-chaplain of the fleet on December 20, 1947. Following their wedding, they moved to Worcester where they raised their three children.

After deciding her job at the Air Ministry was not going anywhere, Mrs Ranford trained to become a teacher and worked at Whittington Primary School, Worcester, for 20 years.

“I’m from a teaching background and fought against it until then, but having had my own children I thought I want to teach, I need to teach.

“I so enjoyed them growing up and seeing how they learnt.”

Mr Ranford, 89, spent his life in local government, joining Worcestershire County Council in 1939, then moving around before returning there as one of two personnel officers in 1975. He retired in 1981.

He was also part of the commissioning party for the new County Hall in February 1978 and was president of the county branch of NALGO – the National Association of Local Government Officers.

For the couple, who are also grandparents of four, there is only one secret to wedded bliss.

“Always let him think it was his idea in the first place,” said Mrs Ranford.