Couple have double Christmas celebration
CHRISTMAS Day is always a bit special for chilhdood sweethearts George and Elsie Phillips.
Not only do they join in all the festivities, but the couple celebrate their wedding anniversary on that date too.
From the moment George, 93 met Elsie, 92, at the age of 14, he knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
He said: “I was on a scooter eating chocolate when I saw her and I said to my friend ‘that’s the girl I’m going to marry.’ “We both lived in Shepherd’s Bush and there were four of us friends so I saw her quite a bit.
“We had our first kiss when I was 18, laying under a tree in Kew Gardens.”
This year the couple celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary – more than 78 years after they first clapped eyes on each other.
The couple were married on Christmas Day in 1940 at St Thomas’ Church, Shepherd’s Bush, before moving around the corner from their parents’ homes.
George said: “We were allowed to get married on Christmas Day because it was the war, and we were married at 3pm by Father Young.
“It used to be that the only day you could have off work was Christmas Day, and it’s the best day of the year, so we thought we would try and marry then if we could.”
Despite rationing, the couples were lucky enough to have a good spread of food and a wedding cake.
Elsie said: “All I remember is that it was a beautiful day. It was like a spring day.
“I wore blue – a dress and a coat and a veil.
“We were very lucky with the cake. It was from Cliffords the Bakers and when we went there they said they had just got enough ingredients left to make it.”
Although George tried three times to volunteer to fight with the RAF during the war, he was refused since he was so desperately needed by the Glacier Metal Company, where he worked as an engineer making bearings.
He said: “I really wanted to do it and it was disappointing to be turned down. But they said they really needed me.”
Their eldest child, George, was born in 1942 followed by Carol in 1945 and Bobby in 1951.
They also have four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
In 1943 the family were bombed out of their home during the Blitz.
Elise said: “We were really lucky. When we went back to the house to see the damage we didn’t know how we had got out.
“The people behind us, a family with twin boys, were killed when the bomb dropped.”
Despite suffering a heart attack when he was 48, George did not retire until 1984, and the couple moved to Swindon to be close to their daughter, Carol.
Since then the couple have enjoyed their retirement in Liden, but continued to move with the times.
George bought his first computer when he was 90, and has recently bought himself a tablet, which he uses for games, emails and online shopping.
He said: “Everyone was talking about computers and I thought I’d have a go.
“You need to be patient with them though.”
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