‘They have become the life and soul of the home’: Wisbech couple celebrate 68th wedding anniversary at Lyncroft Care Home

Ray and Mary Chapman on their wedding day.

Ray and Mary Chapman on their wedding day. - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech care home hosted a party to mark the 68th wedding anniversary of two of its residents.

Ray and Mary Chapman dancing together more recently.

Ray and Mary Chapman dancing together more recently. - Credit: Archant

Ray and Mary Chapman – described as ‘the life and soul’ of Lyncroft Care home - were surrounded by family, friends, staff and residents as they celebrated the special occasion… this is how they met.

During World War Two, Ray and Mary begun communicating when Mary joined a group to become pen pals to active soldiers.

At the time, Ray had just turned 22 and Mary was 19 years of age. They hit it off instantly, and by the time they came to meet when Ray returned, they were very close friends.

They immediately started courting and, on most Saturdays, would visit the cinema to watch the latest flick.

This would be interchanged with an occasional trip to the dance hall, if they had a little extra money to hand.

It was after 18 months, in March 1950, that Ray and Mary got engaged. In unorthodox fashion, it was Mary who got down on one knee, after a romantic evening at the pictures. Mary had hoped that they could be married in the Easter of that year, but they were unable to because her brother’s birthday fell at the same time.

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They decided to get married in the early summer, and on June 3 they married at the West Walton Church in Norfolk at 3pm.

It was a terribly thundery morning, but thankfully the rain cleared to make way for the sun, which stayed out all afternoon.

Ray and Mary then went on to have a child, a boy called Peter. He was born in 1951.

For most of his working life, Ray worked as a gardener and a caretaker at a local upper school.

Mary worked on the land and also worked as a cleaner at the same school, in which Ray was caretaker.

Peter went on to have two children of his own. Ray and Mary are now proud grandparents to two grandchildren, Vicky and James. They are also great grandparents to Isabelle and Jasmine.

After a run of bad health Ray was admitted to Lyncroft Care Home in January this year.

Mary closely followed, joining her husband on February 16.

Since becoming residents, they have become the life and soul of the home, interacting with everyone and taking part in most of the activities.

Mary especially enjoys it when the children come in from Wisbech Day Nursery on Friday morning.

They have lots of friends and relatives that frequently visit. Ray loves to discuss all things gardening and, discussing the home, he said: “We felt welcome from the day we arrived, as it felt like a home from home.

“All the staff are friendly, happy to help and nothing is too much trouble. We are both very happy here.”