Bob and Brenda share 70th anniversary celebrations with The Queen

Asfordby Hill couple Bob and Brenda Gathercole share very special 70th anniversary celebrations with The Queen this year.

By Nick Rennie
Monday, 4th April 2022, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 9:41 am
Bob and Brenda Gathercole celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with their framed congratulations card from The Queen EMN-220404-171104001
Bob and Brenda Gathercole celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with their framed congratulations card from The Queen EMN-220404-171104001

The Gathercoles were married at Melton’s St Mary’s Church just a few weeks after Her Majesty ascended to the throne following the death of King George VI.

So it was fitting that the monarch sent a congratulations card to Bob (92) and 86-year-old Brenda and it is already framed and being proudly displayed on their lounge wall.

The couple, who enjoyed a party with 35 family members on Sunday, are clearly still very much in love so long after meeting when he delivered fruit to her town centre shop in the late 1940s.

Bob and Brenda Gathercole pictured outside St Mary's, Melton, on their wedding day in March 1952 EMN-220404-171124001

Brenda said: “We wouldn’t be without one another. We go everywhere together.”

She was working in Goodburn’s fruit shop on Nottingham Street when she first set eyes on Bob, who was working for Melton Fruit Company, which was based on Rosebery Avenue.

Their first date was at The Regal cinema but neither can remember the movie they watched. Other dates were spent dancing at the old Corn Exchange, which was located where the Bell Centre shopping mall is now.

Bob recalled: “We married on March 29, 1952, at St Mary’s, and it snowed throughout the day.”

Bob and Brenda Gathercole with their wedding cake on their big day in March 1952 EMN-220404-171114001

He had a tough childhood after losing his dad to TB aged 32 when he was just 10.

His father had been a gardener at Staveley Lodge on Nottingham Road, which is now in the grounds of Pera.

Bob remembers the war years and has strong recollections of watching a bombing raid on the town by the German Luftwaffe in November 1940.

“I was off school that day and I watched from Wilton Terrace as this plane went over the town and dropped a bomb on Brook Street,” he said.

Bob and Brenda Gathercole on their wedding day with relatives in March 1952 EMN-220404-171134001

After delivering fruit, Bob took a job driving lorries for Hill’s Transport and continued working at the company until retiring in 1995.

Brenda also worked for a leather factory on the Leicester Road industrial estate and at the old Woolworths store on Sherrard Street.

The couple, who moved to Asfordby Hill 27 years ago after living in Sherwood Drive in Melton, have three sons - Robert, Colin and Nigel - seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Bob added: “We’ve been lucky to have had good health all these years together. We enjoy gardening and spending time with the family now.”