Ron and Bonnie celebrate his birthday and wedding anniversary

South Cheshire resident Ronald Smith has enjoyed a rare double celebration that very few of us will ever experience!

For Ron has marked his 100th birthday – and then his 78th wedding anniversary just a day later.

Ron and his wife Bonnie, 96, enjoyed a special party and romantic meal at their care village, Belong Crewe on Brookhouse Drive, to commemorate the milestone occasions.

Staff and residents at the homes, where the couple have been for the past three years,  put on a joint birthday-anniversary party for them filled with flowers, gifts, and presentation of birthday wishes in the form of a card from Her Majesty, the Queen.

Born at the start of the ‘Roaring Twenties’, Ron grew up around Crystal Palace, south London.

After completing school, he joined the Territorial Army, where he spent 13 years, progressing to Sergeant Major rank and serving in World War II, before leaving to pursue a career in education.

The keen photographer spent the next 25 years teaching at the UK’s first photography department at Holland Park School, Kensington.

Ron was awarded the 1976 Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal for services to photography.

At a summer fair in 1939, Ron and wife-to-be Bonnie first met.

They married in 1942 and were later blessed with a son, Michael, and six grandchildren.

Ron and Bonnie wedding photo, 1942 (1)
Ron and Bonnie wedding, 1942

The couple moved to Cheshire for their retirement, though Ron continued teaching in some format into his 90s.

Now registered blind, Ron maintains his passion through membership of the Disabled Photographers’ Society.

Having lived through World War II and 20 prime ministers, he became a centenarian on June 26 and the following day celebrated 78 years of marriage with Bonnie.

The couple say the secret is being prepared to give as well as take and to just enjoy being together in each other’s company.

And that shows in their favourite pastime – having a cup of tea together and putting the world to rights!

Lee, Ron’s grandson who lives in Surrey, said: “Ron and Bonnie had a son called Michael who became a top badminton coach.

“Sadly, he died of bowel cancer 20 years ago, which was a devastating time for them.

“Michael did have six children, their grandchildren; Jackie and Debbie from his first marriage, Lee from a second, then Karl, Faye and Callum.

“They both also have some amazing friends in Crewe, such as Mim and Barry who have done so much for them, and Peter from Crewe Photographic Society who visits him regularly.”

Crewe Photographic Society secretary Peter Robinson said: “Ron regularly gave the club humorous and interactive talks.

“The Society awarded him a life time membership for his contribution to the club and for inspiring so many people.

“Ron missed teaching so much that he joined the U3A to teach photography there.

“At 95, Ron’s glaucoma made him blind and he gradually suffered a loss of mobility made him bed-ridden.

“Even so he can remember remarkable details from his past.

“He’s taught photography for over 70 years and despite ill health, he has never lost his passion for a fantastic picture.”

Kathryn Farmer, general manager at Belong, said: “We’re thrilled to be part of Ron and Bonnie’s momentous occasions.

“Everyone at the village has had a wonderful time celebrating with them, reminiscing about old times and even enjoying a double helping of cake to mark both events.

“We wish them the very best as this special time.”

Ron and Bonnie - celebration
Ron and Bonnie – celebration

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