“It was an occupational hazard,” said Bob who was an engineer when he met telephonist, Glen at Whitehaven telephone exchange.
They were engaged a couple of years later at Bob’s parents silver wedding anniversary celebration.
It’s little wonder that their love has survived for so long as Bob is a Valentine’s Day baby and Glen was born just eight days later that year, 1941.
And the sparks certainly flew just a week before they were due to be married on March 31, 1962 when fire badly damaged the wedding venue where Glen was a Sunday School teacher.
“Although we were told we could still get married there, I wasn’t keen so Bob paid £3.10 for a special licence for us to marry at Egremont Castle Methodist Church which was nice because Bob’s parents were married there,” said Glen.
The ceremony was unusual because two ministers officiated, one from the church where Bob sung in the choir and the other from Glen’s church.
Twenty-eight years later, their daughter, Kay, went one better as two canons officiated at her wedding in Bolton-le-Sands where the Skellys moved in 1965.
The couple moved to Lancashire when Bob became a technical officer for BT in Lancaster with responsibility for the whole district. He was looking after the telephone exchange in Hornby at the time of the Wray floods in 1967.
The couple’s son, Paul, was born in 1963 followed by Kay in 1967. Glen worked part-time at Morecambe telephone exchange and on the switchboard at Pye Motors in Lancaster before joining the NHS for more than 20 years as a ward clerk in the ophthalmic department at the Moor Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
The Skellys moved to Bare in 1979 and after 40 years with BT, Bob retired in 1996. He served as a magistrate for more than 15 years and is still a supplemental list JP.
Glen is a former member of Morecambe Bay Flower Club and Bob is a Morecambe Bay Moviemaker. He’s also a member of Warton Masonic Lodge and will have been a freemason for 60 years in 2023.
The couple’s main interest is travel. They’ve had a caravan for decades and also enjoy cruising. They were sailing the South China Sea when the COVID pandemic began and were stranded in Vietnam before they could disembark in Hong Kong.
This summer, they are looking forward to rail journeys in Spain and the Pyrenees.
They will celebrate their diamond wedding with their two children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. On the anniversary itself there’ll be an open house at their Heysham home. The main celebration is at Morecambe Golf Club.
Long marriages obviously run in the family as Bob’s elder brother has celebrated his diamond wedding and his younger brother reached his golden anniversary.
“We’ve been very lucky,” said Glen. “We get on well, are good friends and have a lovely family.”