A CHANCE meeting over a string of pearls has led to 70 years of happy marriage for Evelyn and Alf Cadwallader from Wirral.

Evelyn was 18 and Alf 19 when they met in 1948. They married, three years later, at the methodist church in Bebington on November 24, 1951.

Alf was in the Air Force and Merchant Navy. In civilian life he worked for Vauxhall Motors.

On the night they met, Evelyn was going to buy some sweets and Alf was walking in the opposite direction.

Evelyn recalled: “There was a string of pearls on the road; I went to pick them up and Alf did.

“He asked, ‘Are they yours?’ I said ‘no’ and we chatted for a few minutes.

“We decided to take them into the shop and leave them there in case their rightful owner turned up.”

After the chance meeting, Alf asked Evelyn for her address and then went off to sea.

Six weeks later, he called at Evelyn’s family home to ask if anyone had claimed the string of pearls.

He also asked Evelyn if she would like to go to the pictures... She accepted his offer of a trip out to the Palace Picturehouse in Rock Ferry and the rest is history!

More than 70 years after meeting, the couple - who live in Thingwall - have three sons - Robert, Roy and Brian - daughters-in-law Sandra, Jane and Gail; eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Wirral Globe:

Alf and Evelyn on their wedding day - November 24, 1951

During their first trip away together, the couple - keen cyclists - travelled all over the country on Alf’s treasured tandem bike.

Explaining how the couple's love of the great outdoors Evelyn recalled: "We had both been evacuees during World War Two, sent to different parts of Wales.

"We loved the countryside as a result of that experience and had to spend our weekends getting out-and-about.

"We joined the Youth Hostels Association (YHA) but we had to solve the problem of transport.

"The answer came with a tandem that Alf had managed to find. I had no idea of what riding a tandem involved, couldn't even ride a bike. We spent many hours close to home practising until we were good enough to go for longer distances. We had many laughs along the way.

"This became the way we spent our leisure time for three years before we were married."

After the birth of first son Robert, Evelyn and Alf gave up the tandem for a motorbike and sidecar. 

Evelyn was luncheon club developer for Age Concern Wirral (now Age UK Wirral), opening more than 20 luncheon clubs and retiring from service at the age of 86. 

Wirral Globe:

Alf and Evelyn Cadwallader during one of their cycling trips

Looking back, Evelyn, who is now 91, reflected: “We’ve had a wonderful life, we really have.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, as many people have throughout their lives, but we have managed to get through them all.

“We have met some wonderful people in our lifetime, but have also lost so many people, both family and friends who have been very special to us.

“We have a sense of contentment at this stage of our lives and a wealth of memories to look back on.”

n From all at Wirral Globe, a very happy anniversary Evelyn and Alf!