10:35AM, Sunday 28 June 2015
A sports mad couple who fell in ‘love’ on the tennis courts celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary yesterday (Thursday).
It was game, set and match made in heaven when Frank Fry and Maria Verbinnen joined the tennis club in Florence Avenue, Maidenhead in the 1950s.
Frank was studying figure drawing at Maidenhead Arts College when Marie caught his eye down by the river.
The 85-year-old said: “I saw a friend from my figure drawing class down by the river and I had to ask him: ‘who was that young lady you were with?’
“I recognised her from the tennis club. He told me it was his sister and introduced us and we hit it off straight away.”
The couple’s nuptials at St Joseph’s Church in Maidenhead in 1955 went without a hitch, but the pair were held up on the way to their wedding reception by a film star in a giant American car.
Frank said: “I remember you could drive down Market Street in those days and on our way to the reception you couldn’t get through because of this great big pink Cadillac blocking the road.
“It was Diana Dors and a boyfriend of hers. They used to flit around Maidenhead in those days and there we were, stuck behind them.”
Frank worked as a designer at Magraw-Hill and Marie ran her late father’s business, J.C. Verbinnen up until the 1980s.
The pair have three children – Suzanne, Alan and Michael – and seven grandchildren.
Marie, 90, and Frank raised their children in a house they built for themselves in Fishery Road, Bray and lived there for more than 30 years. The couple now live in Ribstone Road.
Daughter Suzanne said: “My parents were so lovely and laid back when we were growing up. Their love of sport really inspired us and all of us are sporty.
“They do everything together – even now, they play golf together. It’s very sweet.”
Frank says there is no real secret to a long and happy marriage but concedes that having things in common may have given them a helping hand.
“There’s no secret. We just decide to soldier on together through all life’s problems. And we have always enjoyed sport so we always have that to talk about.”
The couple’s sons have flew in from Australia and Brussels so the family could celebrate the occasion together.
Paramedics were called to the scene of a medical emergency in Maidenhead on Monday morning (June 27).