Couple celebrate 70 years of married life
THE destiny of a Forsbrook couple who have been married for 70 years was predicted by a gypsy and an Indian wiseman.
George and Evelyn Grocott received a card of congratulations from Her Majesty The Queen when they celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary last week.
The couple, who live in East Bank Ride, met while George was on demobilisation leave from the Navy in 1946.
They married 13 months later and, within the year, had welcomed their first child, Lynn.
Evelyn, aged 90, was born and brought up in Fenton. She was working at Belstaffs Machining, making uniforms for the military when she met George – an event that had been predicted just weeks before by a visiting gypsy.
She said: “I hid behind the door when my mother answered because I didn’t want to see the gypsy, but she told my mother to bring me out from my hiding place. She told me I would go away and it would not go well, but then I would come back and find the man of my dreams.
“I went to Blackpool for a week and I really didn’t enjoy it. When I came back I went to a dance at Fenton Town Hall with my cousin. I saw this young man winking at me to go over and excused the girl he was dancing with.
“I didn’t because I thought if he wanted to dance with me he would have to come and ask, but eventually I went over and danced with him.
“We got married 13 months later and I moved in with George and his family in Meir.”
George, aged 94, had had a similar experience in Egypt while serving as a stoker in the Navy.
He said: “I was walking down the road with a few other fellows and there was an Indian man sitting at the side of the road beckoning to me.
“I stopped to speak to him and he told me I would soon meet the woman I was going to marry and have five children. He gave me a bead, which I kept and still have in a drawer.”
George left school at 14 and worked as an apprentice painter and decorator before being called up for service during the Second World War.
He was enrolled at 18 and served for just over four years, taking part in the D-Day landings and serving at sea all over the world.
On returning to Stoke-on-Trent at the end of the war, he found it difficult at first to settle down.
He said: “I saw this girl and I liked the look of her and thought she would make me happy. I took her home at the end of the night and we went out together for a fortnight.
“I was very unsettled and told her I couldn’t see her anymore and then after a week, I suddenly felt a bit better. I knew I fancied her and I went straight over to her house to apologise and ask if we could start courting.
“Her father was alright with it. He had been a stoker in the Navy in the First World War, so I was alright by him.
“My father was a Navy stoker in World War I as well. We were both awarded medals from the two different wars for doing the same job.”
The couple moved around Stoke-on-Trent for the first few years of their marriage, finding it difficult to settle down until eventually they found a house in Meir. They stayed there for a while, then moved to Forsbrook around 55 years ago.
George returned to painting and decorating after the war, setting up a business with a friend and later taking a job with Seddons, where he worked for 50 years.
The couple had three children, Lynn, Ann and Paul, but believe the Indian wiseman’s prediction came true as Evelyn also had two miscarriages.
She said: “There’s not many people as old as us who’ve been through as much as us and still love each other like we do.”
In addition to their three children, the couple have six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren with one on the way and a great-great-grandson.
George said: “Our family has been the biggest part of our life – we’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve had a good life.
“We have a nice family, our children are sincere and honourable and we are very proud of all of our children and their children and all of them.”
The couple were delighted to receive official congratulations on their special anniversary from The Queen and have received many cards from family and friends – although their well-wishers have struggled to find cards for a 70th wedding anniversary.
Evelyn added: “I was just so pleased to receive the card from Her Majesty – I was crying because I was just so full of happiness.
“I’m sure God knew that our marriage was our destiny. We are so very honoured and I thank God for it.”
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