02:30PM, Wednesday 03 September 2014
Buying ice cream for his colleagues led to a lifetime of romance for a young firefighter from Windsor now celebrating 50 years of marriage.
Alan Chivers was based at Windsor's old fire station in St Leonards Road when he popped in to the sweet shop opposite, where his wife-to-be Barbara had a Saturday job.
At the time he was 21 and living in lodgings.
Barbara, who was 17, said: "To tell the truth I felt sorry for him. He was on his own and I came from a large family so I decided to introduce him around."On Friday, Alan, now 71, and Barbara, 67, celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.
They married at Windsor Congregational Church in William Street and moved into one of the newly-built 'firemen's houses' in Hawtrey Road where they still live.
Barbara has firm views on what makes a marriage successful.
She said: "Never believe that you don't need to keep working at it. We always try and have a meal out together once a month."
A surprise party at their son's new home in Old Windsor on Sunday saw 90 friends and relatives gathered together to congratulate them. On Monday the couple are off for a two-week holiday in California.
Barbara is a founder member and vice-chairman of Windsor and Eton Operatic Society, now Windsor and Eton Opera.
The couple have two sons and a grandchild with another two on the way.
They have both worked all their lives - Barbara was a finance accountant working for the Lord Lieutenant of Kent.
But being a firefighter's wife could be equally challenging.
Remembering the day of the Windsor Castle fire in 1992, Barbara said: "I decided he would probably be hot so I opened the windows to keep the house cool. He got back sodden and freezing, boots full of water saying 'shut the windows'."
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