Threepence launches a legion of wedded bliss over six decades

George and Mary Prowse

George and Mary Prowse - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin couple well-known for their ceaseless work with the Royal British Legion are set to mark their 60th wedding anniversary this month – after threepence got them together!

Mary and George Prowse

Mary and George Prowse - Credit: Archant

Mary and George Prowse are set to reach the impressive milestone of 60 years of married life next week. The pair, who were born in Hitchin and who have lived in the town ever since, actually met at a speedway meeting at Harringay Stadium in north London during the 1950s.

Mary, 79, was queuing up to enter the stadium – which saw more than 45,000 paying spectators watch motorcycle speedway and greyhound racing at its peak, but which is now a Sainsburys supermarket after it shut in 1987 – when she found herself threepence short of the entry fee.

But the quick-thinking former shorthand typist asked George – who was standing behind her in the queue – if she could borrow the money.

George agreed to lend her the pennies on one condition – that she go on a date with him.


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Thankfully Mary agreed, and they tied the knot at St Mary’s Church on January 19, 1957.

Mary told the Comet: “We have had many ups and down but still came through smiling. George says the secret to married life is the answer: ‘Mary is always right’, but the real secret is give and take.

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“When he asked me out after he lent me the threepence all those years ago at Harringay I thought, ‘Well, I’ll give him a go’.”

Before he met Mary, George, 84, served his country during national service in Wales with the Royal Artillery. The former Bessemer School pupil then became an engineer in Wilbury Way for nearly two decades before he became a postman for a further 19 years, which Mary said was a job he loved.

Over the years they’ve both been involved in charity work, particularly the Hitchin Poppy Appeal.

Through their hard work, the generosity of people and the help of many volunteers, they’ve helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the legion.

Modest Mary, who attended Old Hale Way Girls School, added: “We really enjoy the challenge. Thank you to all who have helped the Royal British Legion.”

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