Penryn couple's weekend of surprises for golden anniversary
A Penryn couple marked 50 years of marriage this week, with an extra special surprise celebration.
Golden anniversary pair, Joy and Barclay Churcher, had no idea what was in store for them when they were taken to Falmouth’s Membly Hall Hotel by their daughters on Friday night.
“I thought we were going out for an evening meal, just as a family,” Joy, aged 79, said.
“But they had booked us into a hotel,” said Barclay, aged 75.
Their daughters, Judith Terrell and Alison McInnes, had secretly arranged a night’s stay for them in the seafront hotel – and that was only the beginning of the celebrations.
Joy said: “I thought ‘well, that’s over with’, but that was only the first shock.
“On Saturday they said ‘seeing as this is the actual day of your anniversary, how about we go out somewhere for a drink’.
“So I went out as I was, with the clothes I had been working in all day, and then when I got up to the Cricket Club I saw all these cards and everyone was all dressed up.”
Barclay said: “All my brothers and family. They came from Exeter and everywhere.
“She said ‘you didn’t tell me’ – but I didn’t know!”
In lieu of gifts, partygoers made £200 worth of donations to the Phoenix Stroke Appeal – Barclay having suffered a stroke only last year.
Flowers, wine and as many as 49 cards were waiting for the couple at their party, alongside a whole host of guests including their grandchildren Dean, Jamie, Zack, Zoe and Zenden.
Joy said: “There were so many people there and I couldn’t believe that not one of them had let the secret out.
“The two daughters, I told them, ‘I don’t want anything special’ but they took no notice whatsoever.
“They did a marvellous job in keeping the secret, but I’m hoping this is the last thing, because I can’t cope with anymore surprises!”
Barclay and Joy met after he offered to skipper her father’s boat, on a gloriously sunny day more than half a century ago, when she wanted to go out on the water but her father had to work.
Joy said: “It was a baking hot day and he wouldn’t put any sun cream on. He had severe burns the next day and couldn’t go to work.
“She had me trapped then,” Barclay added.
Their relationship blossomed as Joy would often see Barclay in the old Anchor Hotel, where he was a barman.
This pub, on Quay Hill, was run by Cyril Coles during the fifties and sixties, but has since been demolished to make way for the new Anchor Quay development.
When asked the secret to 50 years of marriage, Barclay said with a smile: “We spent 45 years not speaking to each other and the last five years trying to make it up.
Joy said: “I don’t believe anyone who says they don’t have arguments. I think these days people give up too easily, but when we were young you stuck it out.
He said: “She was lucky to have me.”
She said: “I think it’s the other way round.
“I think they are lucky to have each other,” Joy’s sister, Christine Jago, said.