Date with the silver screen leads to diamond wedding

Fran and Jim Simonds. Picture: OX67676 David Fleming

Fran and Jim Simonds with friends and family on their wedding day

First published in News

A LOVING couple are celebrating how a chance meeting before the silver screen brought them to a diamond wedding anniversary.

Fran and Jim Simonds and husband celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary yesterday.

The pair, who live in Witney, met in 1954 at the Electra Palace cinema in Queen Street, Oxford.

Mrs Simonds, 78, had gone to see a film with her friend Margaret Rashbrooke and never expected to meet her true love.

A retired machinist who worked at the Cowley car factory for more than 30 years, Mrs Simonds said: “He took us home from the cinema and then he wrote me a letter.

“We have had a wonderful relationship. I am very proud and we are both very happy together.”

Mrs Simonds, who can’t remember what film it was she had gone to see, said they married at St Matthew’s Church, Marlborough Road, Oxford, on June 5, 1954.

Mr Simonds, 83, volunteered as a medic in the RAF when he was 17 and served in Africa in 1949-50.

Mrs Simonds was one of eight children and said: “My father Stanley died in 1946 and my mother had to bring eight of us up. We had no money.

“My husband had a nice blue suit and it was just a simple wedding.”

The couple, who have no children, have not yet decided how to celebrate their big anniversary.

During 60 close years of marriage, they have worked in Australia, owned 50 cars and enjoyed countless camping holidays around Europe.

And the secret? Mrs Simonds said: “You have to give and take to make it work.”

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