Lady’s ‘excuse me’ leads to 60 years of wedded bliss for Lillington couple

Ray and Margaret Elliot who are celebrating their Diamond Wedding. NNL-150408-192612009
Ray and Margaret Elliot who are celebrating their Diamond Wedding. NNL-150408-192612009

A young lady from Leamington who politely asked a fellow trainee teacher to dance in 1952 never dreamt that the two of them would still be together more than 60 years later.

But that ‘lady’s excuse me’ - as it was known at the time - proved to be a crucual moment in Margaret Elliott’s life, as she and that said gentleman, Ray Elliott, will be celebrating their Diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday (August 13).

The couple, who live in Telford Avenue in Lillington and are both now in their 80s, first laid eyes on each other at teacher training college in Cheltenham at a gramaphone club, where people came to listen to music.

Mrs Elliott said: “It was a rare day when men were allowed to come into the women’s hostel. The following week we went to the ‘Saturday Hop’ and had a dance. We had a ‘lady’s excuse me’, which was when a woman could ask a man to dance. A friend persuaded me to ask Ray to dance. I asked him if he had enjoyed the music at the gramaphone club, but he did not remember me and was covered in embarrassment! So he walked me home and it went on from there.”

The couple got engaged in October 1954 and were married at All Saints’ church in Leamington on August 13 1955.

Mrs Elliott, a former Milverton Primary and King’s High School pupil, went on to teach at Bath Place School in Leamington, which no longer exists, and Telford Infants School in Lillington. Mr Elliott, who is originally from York, taught at Southam Primary School and went on to become deputy headteacher at Newburgh Primary School in Warwick and was headteacher at Cubbington Primary School for 22 years. Both of them retired in the late 1980s.

The couple, who have lived in Lillington for 40 years, had two daughters, Sue and Jane. Sadly Jane died from cancer 16 years ago. They also have four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Between them, Mr and Mrs Elliott’s hobbies include gardening, watercolour painting, baking and socialising with friends - and they sometimes still listen to music together, more than 60 years after first laying eyes on each other at that gramaphone club.

Mrs Elliott said: “To celebrate our anniversary, we will be taking our daughter and her husband to stay in Devon for a week to thank them for all they have done for us. We are also having a small garden party at home for close friends.”

She added: “It does not seem possible that 60 years has passed!”