Platinum couple waited for war to finish to be wed

Bernard and Margaret Bailey of Ossett celebrated their platinum wedding on April 20.

Bernard and Margaret Bailey of Ossett celebrated their platinum wedding on April 20.

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Platinum couple Bernard and Margaret Bailey celebrated 70 years of happy marriage last week.

The pair first laid eyes on each other when South Hiendley-born Mr Bailey visited Mrs Bailey’s hometown of Aberystwyth for an RAF navigator training course in 1942.

Aged 17 and 20, the couple say they had an “instant connection”.

They began courting while Mr Bailey, now 94, completed his operational training across the UK.

But they were then forced to spend more than a year apart when Mr Bailey served as a navigator with the Halifax Bombers during the Second World War.

Mrs Bailey, now 91, said: “He did 51 operational flights between 1943 and 1944.

“It was very difficult but it was work he enjoyed very much.

“At times it was sad because they lost so many of their friends and aircrafts.”

The couple wrote to each other throughout his time away and on Mr Bailey’s safe return, they decided to tie the knot.

They married at a local methodist church in Aberystwyth on April 20, 1946, surrounded by family and friends, before honeymooning in the Lake District.

Mr Bailey had trained as a teacher and worked at Middlestown Junior and Infant School before joining the airforce.

In September 1946, he and Mrs Bailey moved to Wakefield together so he could continue his post.

He later went on to teach and became deputy head teacher at Horbury School, where he stayed until his retirement in 1982.

Mrs Bailey worked as a civil servant, before bringing up the couple’s daughter Susan.

The pair, who live in Ossett, now have two granddaughters and four great-grandsons.

Mrs Bailey said: “We have done everything together over the years. We have always enjoyed walking together and being in the countryside.

“We caravanned for many years both in this country and abroad.

“We love holidays and have done a lot of cruising.

“And we have both always been interested in the RSPB and church affairs.”

Mr and Mrs Bailey celebrated their milestone with an afternoon tea party with friends and neighbours at their home last week.

They also visited their daughter and son-in-law in Derbyshire last weekend and were thrown a surprise family party.

Mrs Bailey said the secret to their lasting marriage was a “bit of give and take”, “always loving one and other” and being “supported by a very happy and caring family”.