Meeting on Majestic Ballroom dancefloor led to 60 years of wedded bliss for South Shields couple

Two strangers who came together on the dancefloor have marked 60 years of marriage with family from around the world.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 1:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 1:08 pm
George and Mavis Elsy toast their Diamond Wedding Anniversary with family at a surprise party held at The Red Lion, West Boldon.

George and Mavis Elsy had hoped to spend their wedding anniversary with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

But with most living in countries around the world, the couple’s wish didn’t look likely.

However, their daughters Wendy and Hilary were able to pull off a surprise lunch for the pair on Saturday at the Red Lion.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The couple, who live on the Holder House Estate in South Shields, were invited to the Red Lion pub where their wish was granted.

Yesterday, they also received a card from the Queen to mark the special milestone.

Mavis, 77, said: “It was a complete surprise, to see everyone there.

“I had hoped for the whole family to be there for our anniversary but we are all spread out living in places like Latvia, Portugal, Yorkshire, Edinburgh and London, so I didn’t think it would be possible.

“But my two daughters managed to sort it all out. It was a lovely surprise.”

Mavis was only 17-years-old when she was asked to dance at the Majestic Ballroom by George in 1957.

It was the first time the couple had laid eyes on each other. After walking her home that night, they met up again and romance quickly blossomed.

George proposed during a lunch in Newcastle and the couple were married a year later at St Andrew’s Church in Talbot Road, South Shields on March 21, 1959.

Wearing a dress made by a cousin of George, she carried a bouquet made up of red roses and white freesias which was replicated for their anniversary and presented to Mavis.

Mavis, who worked as a manageress in the fashion department in Binns and George, now 86, a former shipyard worker who became a shipbuilding lecturer at South Tyneside’s Marine College, went on to have two daughters, Wendy, 57, and Hilary 53 - who also marked her birthday on Saturday.

Mavis added; “When George asked me to dance, I just liked the look of him and he liked the look of me.

“He was a gentleman.”

The couple have six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and share a love of classical music.

They have enjoyed a number of holidays abroad to places including Kenya, Spain and the Caribbean.

Mavis said: “You can overcome all sorts of problems if you love each other.

“We have a lovely family and we are proud of them.”