Couple celebrating after 70 years of married life

Their Silver is ‘spent’, their Gold is gone, their Diamond is done and a Dromara couple are polishing up the Platinum for a major marital milestone.

Monday, 29th July 2013, 9:00 am

On Wednesday, July 21, 1943 the late Wendy Richard, of ‘Are You Being Served?’ and ‘Eastenders’ fame, was born, the occupying Germans offered a 100,000 Reichsmark reward for the capture of Yugoslav partisan leader and later life president Josip Broz (Marshal) Tito and Antrim man Jack Kerr married local girl Vera Hunter in St. John’s Parish Church, Dromara.

Fast-forward to Sunday past and Jack and Vera marked their Platinum wedding anniversary after fully 70 years as man and wife.

(Platinum was formerly reserved for a 75th anniversary, with diamond ascribed to the 70th until the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign was widely hailed as her Diamond Jubilee ).

Helping the couple celebrate at the Hillsborough Road home in which he was born and in which his mother was raised before him, was the couple’s only child, Mr David Kerr.

“It’s the only house in Dromara with 10 granite steps leading up from the path,” he said.

Newcomer Jack, then teaching at Garvaghy Primary School, and Dromara native Vera, organist at Garvaghy Parish Church, met at the Rectory in Dromara, where the foundations of their future marriage were laid by the matchmaking wife of a local minister.

“My father taught at Garvaghy and had just moved into the area, so the minister’s wife invited him to dinner,” said David. “She and my mother were friendly and she thought they would make a good match, so she invited her too.”

Vera, whose life was that of a traditional hardworking housewife, is now 94 years of age, while Jack, a well known former principal of Garvaghy Primary School, is in his 98th year, “and still driving,” said David, who even now stands in awe of his father’s mathematical prowess.

“My father went to Stranmillis,” he said, “where he was top of his year throughout his time there; arithmetic was his forte.

“I remember someone coming to the house with something they wanted worked out; my father couldn’t work it out purely mathematically so he turned it all into algebra and then back into mathematics to get the answer.” Principal at Garvaghy for some years, Jack was to spend much of his career as principal of another local school, namely Edenderry Primary in Banbridge.

“He was the first principal of the then new school after it was completed,” said David. “He was the principal of Edenderry for the majority of his years in teaching.”