Donald and Berenice Gruer, have been an item for over six decades. They live together at Willow Court care home in Aldwickbury Crescent in Harpenden after having moved to the home last year from their Harpenden Flat.
They first met at the age of 18 when Berenice’s family moved to Leeds in the 1950s, settling into a house only a few doors away from Donald. They bumped into each other on a trampoline while at a neighbourhood event that took place only two weeks after Berenice arrived in the city. They became inseparable, spending as much time together as they could, and quickly fell in love.
Donald (86), who was born in Leeds but has strong Scottish roots and Berenice (85), who was born in Leicester but grew up in Southern Ireland, married in 1959 at Holy Trinity Church, Meanwood, Leeds in their early twenties. They have a daughter, Helen and a son, Duncan who they are very proud of and who have given them four wonderful grandchildren.
When asked what they have done together Donald replied “everything under the sun”. They used to enjoy long walks together and have travelled to a number of different places in the UK and abroad. Both Berenice and Donald were very much actively involved in each of their local Churches, as well as giving up their free time to help others in their local communities. They were also members of the same Church choir as well as being involved in Sunday Schools.
The happy couple celebrated their Diamond Wedding anniversary on 22nd August 2019 and received a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II offering them both her congratulations on this special occasion.
Donald and Berenice decided to enjoy their later years together at Willow Court. Sarah Adlam, the care home manager said:
“They’re such a wonderful couple and still very much in love. They still do so much together in the home and are inseparable. We feel really privileged to have them here with us and love to listen to the stories that they have of their lives together.”
When asked what the secret to their success is they both agreed that big part of it was “having a good sense of humour and being able to make each other laugh. That and the support we give to each other. We’re very fortunate that we’ve been given the chance to do that for all these years”.
Donald and Berenice had many happy years visiting their family in Harpenden, often eating out during visits at the Bangkok Lounge on the High Street, which was their favourite restaurant. As a special treat Abdul, the Manager of the Thai restaurant, arranged for himself and his kitchen staff to open the kitchen during the afternoon so that they could prepare a special Valentines meal for Donald and Berenice to enjoy together at Willow Court.