A DIAMOND couple looked back through 60 happy years this week, to their dream honeymoon when the RAF flew them to Cyprus for a fortnight in the Mediterranean sunshine.
Don and Jane Rule, of Woodfield Road, Ledbury, were married in Abu Sueir, Egypt, on February 21, 1953, when they were both serving with the RAF in the Suez Canal zone.
Former Ledbury mayor Mr Rule, MBE remembered: “We were planning a holiday in Cairo, but there were riots in Cairo and so we were flown by the RAF in an Avro Anson all the way to Cyprus, and we had a lovely time.”
Particularly vivid are the couple’s memories of the pink flamingos at the salt lakes of Akrotiri.
They are also proud of the ecumenical nature of their wedding, which involved a Baptist Minister who followed a Methodist service.
The bridesmaids and best man were Roman Catholics, the friend who gave Mrs Rule away was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, and the best man’s wife was Greek Orthodox.
Mr and Mrs Rule are now both Church of England but, at the time, he was a Congregationalist and Jane was Church of Scotland.
In the following years, as Mr Rule rose steadily in rank, finally to become a Wing Commander, the couple lived in a number of foreign locations including Berlin.
Mr Rule, who is still president of the Ledbury branch of the Royal British Legion, and the legion’s county vice president, said of his meteoric RAF career: “I think I only got promoted because most of my bosses fell in love with Jane!”
He added: “She used to run the wives’ clubs and was a teaching assistant at the service schools.”
In 1977, Mr Rule was presented with the MBE at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles, and he is particularly proud that it was “a military MBE”.
The couple moved to Ledbury in 1983, and Mr Rule was soon at the heart of local political life, becoming the chairman of Malvern Hills District Council and Mayor of Ledbury twice. He also served as a cabinet member with Herefordshire Council, and as its deputy leader.
When asked about the secret of a happy marriage, Mr Rule, 84, answered: “A very tolerant wife”. Mrs Rule, aged 81, said: “He’s a wonderful man.”
The couple celebrated their anniversary early on Sunday, with a party for 26 guests, relatives and friends, at the Talbot Hotel in New Street.
They have three sons, Douglas, Fergus and Alistair, one grandson and four granddaughters.