Renaissance Marlborough reunites two couples after 50 years
11 November 2021
When Val and Dougie Graham recently moved to Renaissance Marlborough, they didn’t expect to be reunited with a couple they’d last seen at their wedding over 50 years ago.
On how they ended up in Marlborough, Val explained:
“We have moved around all our married life although we did spend quite a lot of it in Wiltshire because Dougie was stationed at Brize Norton. We lived in Cyprus whilst Dougie was posted there and then we moved to Falmouth where we ran a sailing school. Now our children have grown up with children of their own, Cornwall was just too far away so six years ago we moved to South Marston to be closer to them and then we thought it was time we downsized so that’s how we’ve ended up here. Back where we came from and where it all started really.
“Renaissance Marlborough stood out to us because we really liked the look of the mezzanines; they were unusual and something we hadn’t seen in others. They were unique. We’d looked at other homes but we found there to be nothing quite like it anywhere else. They’ve been well thought out.”
It was only after they’d moved in that Angela, Lifehost at Renaissance Marlborough, mentioned that another couple who had been in the RAF also lived at the community.
Dougie explained: I asked Angela if she had a name and when she said Gillian and Alan Cole I thought, that does sound familiar. I got back home and said to Val about this ex couple who were RAF and she said yes I think my Dad had a friend called Alan Cole.”
Not only had they known the couple, but Alan had been a sword bearer at their wedding over 50 years ago and is pictured in their framed wedding photograph, taken outside of the church in Chipping Norton where they got married.
“One of Dougie’s friends couldn’t make the wedding and Alan was in his uniform. He was a friend of my Dad’s and my parents had invited them to the wedding. So he at the last minute stood in and held the sword.
“We went to see them and took the photo with us to show them. We hadn’t seen them since that day in 1973. They remembered and they remembered my mum and dad and the day being a lovely day. It was quite a large coincidence. Gillian and Alan had lived in the same quarters as my parents and I still recognised them when I saw them. They were in between my parents and our generation so probably about 10 years older than us. They told us how they’d been since then and what Alan had done once he left the air force so we had a really nice chat.”
Alongside reconnecting with a couple they’d known many years ago, Val and Dougie have found settling into their new home has been made easier by the lovely community around them.
“When we first moved in people came to the door to ask if they could help with anything and our neighbour across the corridor has been amazing. We didn’t have broadband to begin with and he let us use his until we could get ours sorted out and helped us put the table up.
“Everyone has been really friendly. We’re used to mixing with people, we’re quite outgoing and most people here seem to be. We've been asked for drinks in people's houses and when you meet people in town who live here they’re always very cheerful and friendly.
You know when I die or Dougie dies and one of us leaves the other one, I think this is a very nice safe environment to be in. I think if I was on my own here I would feel safe and I would know that there are people very close to help.”