Raymond found himself speechless at the altar
WHEN Raymond Baggaley returned home to marry Joan Bloor, he could barely croak 'I do', after losing his voice the day before the wedding.
Raymond, known as Ray, and Joan grew up on the same street, Brook Street in Hanley, and played together as children.
Leaving school at the age of 14, Ray trained to be a butcher at the Co-op.
Joan, who is a year younger than Ray, left school the following year and joined the civil service.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
It was not until Ray, then aged 17, joined the RAF and moved away from home, the two realised that they were more than just friends.
The couple, who are now aged 82 and 81 and live in Cambridge Drive in Newcastle, had been friends their whole lives and missed not seeing each other every day.
Ray says: "I really missed Joan and it was her I wanted to spend my leave with every time I came home.
"Our romance blossomed from there really and we got engaged a year or so later, just before I went to serve in the Middle East for three years.
"In those days servicemen could get a special licence to get married, as due to time restrictions we couldn't give the customary notice period.
"The wedding preparations were a bit of a rushed affair, but in April 1952 I came home on leave to marry Joan."
While Ray had been serving in the Sahara Desert, his family had moved from Hanley to Baddeley Green and on his return he struggled to locate the house.
He continues: "I arrived at Stoke train station at 2am, I was exhausted from the travelling and just wanted to go to bed.
"I knew the street name but not the number, so the taxi driver kindly toured the area until eventually I spotted a ceramic figurine belonging to my mother in one of the front windows."
Everything was arranged for their wedding, then the day before their nuptials Ray lost his voice.
"I think it was partly the change in climate from the Sahara to Stoke and also maybe a touch of nerves.
"Joan was quite upset as she was worried they wouldn't let us marry if I couldn't say 'I do'."
During the service at Hanley Old Church, Ray could only croak his responses to the rector.
The newly weds spent the weekend in New Brighton, before catching the ferry to the Isle of Man for their honeymoon.
But, their problems did not end there and after waking up late they missed the only ferry of the day.
"We were gutted," he explains, "as I only had two weeks for the honeymoon before I had to return to Africa.
"Luckily a taxi driver noticed our predicament and offered to drive us to the airport in Speke to see if we could catch a flight.
"We were just in time to get the flight to the Isle of Man and landed in time to see the ferry just coming into the dock."
Ray's voice did not return for the whole of their fortnight's honeymoon, but eventually came back when he arrived home.
Ray left the RAF, aged 25, when the couple had enough of married quarters and wanted their own home. They settled in Porthill and Ray returned to his previous trade as a butcher, opening his own shop in Longton.
They have two children, Rosemary and Nicola and five grandchildren.
Joan adds: "It's 60 years since our wedding day, but to be honest I don't know where the years have gone, it seems to have flown by.
"When I think about Ray losing his voice it seems quite funny now, but I was very upset at the time.
"Ray is always so chatty, so we had a very quiet honeymoon.
"At the time it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, but it all worked out in the end and it's something to tell the grandchildren, 60 years later."