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Seventy years of romance
3:30pm Monday 17th September 2012 in News
THEY said it wouldn’t last. Well, the groom’s father did anyway using the rather dubious logic that as the young couple had been courting for four years, they knew each other too well and would soon tire of the relationship.
But 70 years later John Wattis, who is known as Jack, can look skywards towards his late dad and tell him: “You were wrong. Very wrong.”
Because yesterday Jack, who is now 90, and his wife Vera, 89, celebrated their platinum wedding.
Mr Wattis attributes the couple’s long and happy union to doing what you’re told. Which is a brave admission for someone who spent 30 years as an officer in the City of Birmingham Police Force.
The pair met as young teenagers at Holly Lodge High School, Smethwick, and were soon going steady.
“We courted for four years before the wedding in 1942,” said Mr Wattis.
“I remember my father saying that was too long for anyone who intended to get married. The excitement would have worn off my then.”
During his years in the police, Mr Wattis frequently patrolled the beat around the Aston Villa football ground and helped control the crowd on match days.
“They got big attendances after the war. Mind you, they played proper football then,” he said. For his first game he recalls receiving 1s 6d (7p) for refreshments.
Having served three decades an an officer – ending up promoted to sergeant – Mr Wattis retired and worked as a civilian driver for the courts service transferring prisoners. The couple moved to Fernhill Heath, near Worcester, when he retired because they both loved the countryside.
“We had an uncle who suffered from TB and he was treated at the sanatorium at Knightwick,” said Mrs Wattis.
“We used to come and visit him and we had some lovely holidays in the Knightwick area.”
The couple moved to a bungalow in Dilmore Lane, Fernhill Heath, and have been there ever since.
They have four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
They are holding a party for family and friends at Fernhill Heath Baptist Church to celebrate their anniversary and prove just how mistaken Mr Wattis’ father was all those years ago.