Love was in the air at a Sanctuary Care home this week as happy couple Bob and Doris Kennard celebrated 70 years of wedded bliss.
On Tuesday 4 November Bob, 90, and Doris, 92, who is a resident at Ivydene Residential and Nursing Home on Staniforth Drive, hosted a party for fellow residents, friends and family to celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary.
The madly-in-love couple met at the start of the Second World War. Doris, who was just 18 at the time, was working as a tailoress and had been called up to work at Chatham Dockyard in Kent. Bob was working there too and when the couple met it was love at first sight.
Bob remembers: “I saw Doris and thought ‘cor, look at her!’ I asked her out on a date and the rest, as they say, is history.”
After the couple had courted for a few weeks, Doris invited Bob for supper at her parents’ house. Doris recalls: “My mother thought he was rude because he didn’t finish the meal she had cooked. She said to me ‘is our food not good enough for him?!’
“In actual fact, Bob’s mother had told him not to eat too much as it would be seen as greed. The poor man couldn’t win!”
When Doris and Bob were 22 and 20 respectively, they found out that Bob had been called up to serve in India in the war. They decided to get married at once – and had just one week to organise their wedding.
The local community and the couple’s family and friends rallied round to ensure that their special day went smoothly, providing food from their own rations and live music for dancing. The couple married on 4 November 1944 at St Paul’s Church in Chatham.
After the war the couple moved to a house in Chatham where they raised their two children, Robert and Gillian before moving to Doris’s parents’ family home where Doris cared for her father in his later years.
When the children were young the couple did not have much money but would buy a £1 open return ticket and take trains up the coast to Margate and Ramsgate for family days out at the seaside. “We had a lovely time,” Doris says. “We really enjoyed ourselves – and not for a huge cost at all.”
The couple’s children grew up and they both moved to Devon to raise their own families, so Bob and Doris followed suit, residing in Prideaux Road in Ivybridge. Together they have three grand-daughters, Sarah, Emma and Gemma and one grandson, Stephen, plus six great-grandchildren, Matthew, Lauren, Jessica, Jack, Charlie and Freya.
When asked their secret to 70 years of wedded bliss, Bob said: “Sharing everything with one another and lots of give and take – but mostly giving. We love absolutely everything about each other”, with Doris adding: “there is nothing about Bob that I do not love.”
Bob and Doris spent their later years together travelling and particularly enjoyed taking trips to the Balearic Islands, especially Majorca and Ibiza, the Isle of Skye and Jersey. They also loved taking coach trips and playing bingo together.
Doris has been a resident at Ivydene Residential and Nursing Home, which provides residential, nursing and dementia care, for two years and Bob visits her devotedly from his home in Waterside House nearby