To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing our resident couples’ stories, including Gary and Serena Lee, who have lived at Watling Court Extra Care Housing Scheme in Gravesend since 2020.
“We met when we were both in the RAF,” recalls Gary, “it was in 1956 at an airfield in Newquay, Cornwall.”
“Back then, on a leap year, it was tradition for women to ask men to marry them and that’s exactly what Serena did, on Valentine’s Day! We married in Devon and then some time after, we left the RAF.”
Gary went on to begin a career in electronics and the pair moved around for much of their early married life, from Maidenhead to Farnham, Aldershot, Coventry, Derby and Dorset. One particularly fond memory was spent living in a caravan in a cherry orchard and picking cherries from the roof of the van in summer.
After buying their first home in Aldershot, they welcomed their daughter and their son followed not long after, as the children grew up, the family still moved occasionally and once they had left home and gone off to university, they settled in Dorset.
“Our son moved to America, and we visited for his wedding. We did some travelling whilst we were there and have had lots of nice holidays and been on several cruises,” the pair say.
As life went on, the pair decided to move to Maidstone to be closer to their Kent-based daughter, so they were nearer, should they need her support. And their most recent move landed them at Watling Court
The pair have been married for a huge 66 years this year, so what is the secret to a long-lasting marriage? “Give and take,” they both say.