Still madly in love - Ripon couple celebrate 75 happy years together

Still madly in love: Peter and Joyce Dawson. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Still madly in love: Peter and Joyce Dawson. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary, Ripon residents Peter and Joyce Dawson are as madly in love as the day they married, and this year brings another huge milestone for the happy couple, as they each turn 100 years old.

Surrounded by family and friends, the Dawsons marked their special anniversary in style, with a party at Lister House.

Pictured are Peter and Joyce with friends and family, celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary at Lister House. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Pictured are Peter and Joyce with friends and family, celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary at Lister House. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Fondly remembering his first impressions of Joyce, Peter said: "I heard her voice and thought, 'I like that voice', and I loved her straight away. It's been 100 per cent romance - I've had a lovely time with Joyce, and I'm still madly in love with her."

Early in their marriage, Peter and Joyce lived in Leeds, but moved to Weeton in 1961, then to Darley, and now reside at Lister House care home.

They met when they were part of a big group of people who lived locally and went to 'hops' (dances), and went to the cinema together.

Joyce studied sciences at Bedford College in London between 1937 and 1939. When war broke out, she returned to Leeds and decided to study medicine at Leeds School of Medicine - she was the first girl from her school to study medicine, as there were very few women doctors at the time. Peter was studying dentistry at Leeds.

Pictured are Joyce and Peter with family: from left - Jill Cox, Robert Dawson and Fiona Cox. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Pictured are Joyce and Peter with family: from left - Jill Cox, Robert Dawson and Fiona Cox. Picture: Gerard Binks.

The couple married at St Matthew's Church in Chapel Allerton shortly after graduating; honeymooned in Keswick, and then lived in Plymouth where Peter as a dentist in the Royal Navy, was stationed, before being part of the liberation force sent to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Joyce worked in a hospital and volunteered to drive an ambulance at night.

Sharing what has been the secret to their long and happy marriage, Joyce said: "Having a lot of laughs together, keeping busy, giving each other space, and being honest and not having secrets."

Peter and Joyce have five children, 11 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren, and have both always been very active in their community.

They spent their entire working lives working for the NHS as a doctor and dentist, giving to the community according to their profession. They have always strongly believed that everyone should have access to good medical care - together they brought up five children in post-war Britain, trying to give them the best possible start in life through education and broader means, including outdoor activities such as sailing, camping and walking.

Later in life, the Dawsons became involved in amateur dramatics, their annual village show, and a range of other community activities. They continued to camp in Europe well into their 80s.

Peter embraced technological change, using his self-taught computer skills to enhance his lifelong love of photographer. Joyce joined literature, sewing and bridge classes, and in her 90s was still volunteering at her village library.