North Coast and Ballymena edition July 2017

North Coast · Coleraine · Ballymena · Ballymoney · Antrim · Larne

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Happy Ever After

It was love at first sight for Tom and Pam Darcy who have just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Local Women’s Cheryl Cole met the happy couple who lived in Newry before moving to Portrush - and fell in love with their romantic story

It is impossible not to smile when you hear Pam and Tom Darcy’s love story, so perfect it could have come straight out of a classic novel.

After 65 years of marriage, this couple are as in love as ever, laughing and holding hands during my whole time with them. They really don’t make them like this anymore...

While picking strawberries in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, Irish man Tom found himself on the same row as Pam’s sister Peggy who happened to show him a photograph of a then 23-year-old Pam – and this epic love story began.

“I don’t know how it came about, but Peggy showed Tom a photo of me and he asked, ‘Do you think I could write to her?’ We started writing letters to each other and I knew it was something special!” Pam, who has just celebrated her

90th birthday, tells us:“We first met on September 8, 1951, when I travelled from my home in Derby to visit Peggy in Wisbech. Tom met the entire family that day and it didn’t faze him one bit!”

And when asked if it was love at first sight, the couple looked at each other and smiled. “I suppose you could say that yes! I just knew.” Pam reminisces.

“He told me to look up at the stars. I looked up and he kissed me – and that was my first kiss!”

“For our first date, we went to a dance at The Corn Exchange. Tom introduced me to a couple of friends and I was dancing with one of them, acting the fool! I looked over at Tom and he looked so jealous standing in the corner! And I thought there and then… ‘You’re the one for me.’ “He walked me home and I remember it like it was yesterday. He told me to look up at the stars. I looked up and he kissed me - and that was my first kiss!” she smiles.

Tom says: “I just knew she was the one. I had never felt anything like it.”

The couple grew tired of writing letters as they both, already besotted with one another, just wanted to be together. By Christmas, just eight months later, Tom had proposed and on May 31,1952, the couple were married – later moving to Newry when Tom was offered a job. The couple then moved to Portrush and have settled there for the past 40 years.

89-year-old Tom – who Pam jokingly calls her ‘toy boy’ – moved from Ireland to Newmarket, England at 14 years old to become a jockey. “I put on too much weight too fast so that was out the window!”

Tom laughs. “But thank God it all worked out as it did as we have had the most happy, loving marriage.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing as the couple have been dealt some heartbreaking blows during their marriage – but no tragedy would break this strong and loving marriage apart. “Divorce has never even been an option. We would never have considered it – when we took our vows they were for life. We have never had many arguments because we just get on.

“The worst tragedy we have had to endure was when we lost our eldest son Paul. He was killed in a road accident in Newry and it is something we will never get over. But we got through it together.” “He was knocked off his bike on the main road on his way to see his lady friend, just six days before his 19th birthday. It was a really terrible tragedy.” Tom painfully recalls.

Pam also opens up about the loss of her “perfect baby girl” Susan, who tragically passed away within a day of being born. “But we’ve had a very happy life together, even with those tragedies. We have Ann and Christopher, two wonderful children who threw us a fantastic big party for our anniversary!” Tom tells me.

Pam and Tom’s home is covered in beautiful photos from their life together

- of their children, grandson Adam, weddings and special occasions. But one really caught my eye.

“Oh, I could tell you some great stories!” Tom laughs when he catches me looking at it. “I met the Queen herself when she was just 16 years old. I was working with the very first Royal Horse ‘Rising Light' which belonged to her father King George V - and now she has sent us cards congratulating us on our long marriage!” Tom has had a very interesting life, travelling all around the world – Japan, South America, Greece – as a technician before he was offered a textiles job in Northern Ireland where he and Pam ultimately settled.

When asked what their tips for a successful marriage were, Tom tells me, “Love and honesty.”

“People don’t seem to try anymore. They miss a bill, start arguing and then give up. It wasn’t like that in our day. I knew when I married Tom that it was forever.” Pam added.

And when I ask Pam why she thinks her marriage has defied the odds and lasted 65 years, she smiles and answers simply. “We love each other.”

Congratulations you two!

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