The way it is…

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I BELIEVE it is happening more and more with this age of equality, when a young women’s fancy and mind turns to marriage.

On this occasion, this young woman in question took her boyfriend’s hand stroked the back of it lovingly, and looked adoringly into his eyes,

asking him to marry her, this was witnessed by Sylvia Wayne’s daughter Janis who had been invited to have lunch with the couple.

It had been quite a long courtship by any standards, 44 years to be precise, however the husband to be jumped at the chance to make Sylvia who proposed, his wife.

Sylvia Wayne 93 years young, first met Sydney in 1972 at a social event, and have been together since then, Sylvia a retired shop keeper for lingerie and children’s wear in Barkingside East London.

Sydney a retired pharmacist is originally from Glasgow explains that he had never asked Sylvia to marry him, “It just wasn’t on the Cards”, “but I’m really pleased that she asked me, it really did not come as a surprise particularly after all this time, I just put my hand up, saying “at last”.

Sylvia became a widow 50 years ago after her husband died at a young age, my first husband and myself were married in 1942 when I was 18, “it wasn’t very grand during those war years, we were up all night making and cutting sandwiches for the guests, we did not have any money and we ended 30 pounds in debt, he then went off to war.

Sylvia explains “I invited my daughter Janis over to have lunch with Sydney and myself, “just on the spur of the moment, I took Sydney’s hand and asked him to marry me, as I wanted to make an honest man of him”.

Surrounded by family and friends the ceremony took place at Enfield register office, “the weather was not great, but this did not deter us come rain or shine it was going to be a glorious day” said Sylvia “then we went off to a celebration tea at a posh Hotel”.

Speeches at the reception were made by Mrs Keen Sylvia’s daughter, her brother Nicholas and the best man, grandson Simon Keen.

Sydney says, “when I look at Sylvia’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, I know That they belong to me in law”. “We even had a hen and stag night, I had to wear a sash across my chest as I walk along the street saying groom to be”.

Sydney a retired pharmacist aged 87, says “it was a wonderful day, surrounded by family and friends, everyone was so happy, laughing and handshakes all day long, I’ve known Sylvia’s family so long, I’ve been welcomed into the family being married to Sylvia will further strengthen my bond to my brides’ family, they are like my children even her son calls me Dad”.

Daughter Janis 65, organised the nuptials, “it was quite surreal as most of my friends unfortunately have to organise funerals as they lose their parents, so a wedding celebration for my mother is a very happy event”.

The new Mrs Sylvia Altman wore a dusky pink outfit and had three bridesmaids, and page boys her great-grandchildren.

After the day’s events had concluded, and the happy couple prepared to go to their home in Brookman’s Park in North London to continue the day’s celebration’s.

Sylvia’s last words when she was asked if they had taken a taxi home, her reply was quite indigent, “My husband does not walk well, but he is an excellent driver”.

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I worked for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday for 30 years retiring as Associate Editor. I then travelled the world as a guest speaker on cruise ships as a professor of natural history and natural sciences. After spending several years working in East Africa and The Congo I also spent three years living with the mountain gorillas, the famed silverbacks of "gorillas in the mist" setting up a charity to protect them from poachers.

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