Caravanning kept Illogan couple's love strong for 70 years
A COUPLE celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary believe their love of caravanning and camping has kept them together.
Childhood sweethearts Dennis Garrad, 90, a former Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) manager, and Iris, 89, met while they were in the Scouts and Guides in London.
They married during the Second World War, in 1943, when luxuries were scarce and food and goods were rationed.
Mrs Garrad recalled: "We had to buy things with coupons. You couldn't get lace. My sister-in-law made her own dress and she let me borrow it for my wedding day."
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The couple, who settled in Illogan when they retired 30 years ago, were living through perilous times with Mr Garrad working in bomber command with the RAF.
He said: "I worked across Europe and Germany and chased U-boats. I ended up in Lough Erne, in Ireland."
At the same time his young wife had a vital role to play within air intelligence, censoring servicemen's letters sent from the frontline to their loved ones back home.
She said: "The mail came in from abroad. If there was anything in it that could be picked up by the enemy we had to censor it, blacking out the words. I was the only civilian working with RAF officers at the time.
"They used to do snap checks on the airfields when airmen were being transferred. They needed to check whether details of their next location were being revealed (in their letters), which would be a major security risk."
After the war, Mr Garrad worked for former British chemicals giant ICI, becoming its sales manager, selling salt to manufacturers across the UK.
He is currently president and welfare officer of the Camborne and Redruth Royal Air Forces Association. He has been collecting for the organisation for more than 20 years, with this wife by his side, regularly at Morrisons store, in Pool.
Having celebrated their 70 years together with a special dinner at the Penventon Hotel, in Redruth, last night, they described their happiest moments caravanning around Britain.
"We have been caravanners since 1958," said Mr Garrad, "We couldn't afford a new caravan that cost around £575 back then when I earned £4.25p a week.
"The Government of the day promised that when we returned from the war our pay would be improved, but I was on the same wages after the war."
The pair pursued their hobby throughout the 1970s and enjoyed taking their two children on regular weekend and summer breaks.
"Our hobbies have kept us together. We made lots of friends and still get Christmas cards from many of them," he said.