A Newmarket couple who have given years of voluntary service to organisations in the town have celebrated their diamond wedding.
Monte and Mary Bowers were married at All Saints’ Church on March 9, 1957, having met when Monte taught Mary’s brother to drive.
“I asked to go with them, not realising it was a fellow I had known from school. He was two years older and hadn’t ever been aware of me,” said Mary.
“To cut a long story short,” said Monte, “after a few weeks we got rid of the brother!”
They settled in St Philip’s Road and had two daughters, Marcia, mother of their grandsons Lewis and Edwin, and Lynne, who was was born with Down’s Syndrome and autism.
Monte, 86, and Mary,84, devoted themselves to Lynne at home for 50 years until reluctantly allowing her to move to her own bungalow where she has 24-hour care.
Mary started volunteering with the British Red Cross when she was 19, becoming local commandant and then Newmarket Centre organiser and was in the forefront of fundraising for a new headquarters in Newmarket. Her service to the Red Cross was recognised in 1995 when she was made an MBE and continued until the Newmarket Centre was closed two years ago.
She was also local organiser for the National Blood Transfusion service for 30 years and also found time to be an expert spinner and knitter.
“She is a wonderful woman,” said her proud husband.
Monte was a keen gardener, serving on the Newmarket Allotment Association committee for 56 years and as chairman for 20. He was a founder member of Newmarket In Bloom and on that committee until it folded last year and has also revived the gardening section of Newmarket U3A
A soccer referee in amateur and professional football in his younger days, he was a member of the Suffolk FA Referee’s Committee for 17 years.
The couple marked the anniversary with a special dinner for family and friends.