Nostalgic return as 64th anniversary couple discover their amazing place in Doncaster history

It was 64 years since they had celebrated their wedding.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 17:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 18:36 pm

But when Roy and Mary Powell casually mentioned their big day back in 1955 during a conversation a few weeks ago, the great grandson of the woman who organised their reception realised they had a place in history.

The couple had stopped to admire the new lawn outside the Regent Hotel after parking outside the venue, on Regent Terrace, as they had every week for many years on their way into town.

But when they got into conversation with the current owner Simon Longworth outside, he realised that they were the first couple ever to have their wedding reception at the venue, after checking its records. Their big day had been on July 23, 1955.

Mary Powell, Simon Longworth, and Roy Powell at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster

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This week, he invited to couple, from Cantley, back to have a celebration dinner at the venue to mark their 64th anniversary, and pledged to put on a big show for them for their 65th next year.

Roy, how aged 93, and Mary, aged 86, met when out roller skating at Scarbrough Barracks, then on Chequer Road, in 1952. Roy remembers being drawn to Mary’s laugh, and three years later, the couple married at Christ Church, on Thorne Road, just a few yards from the Regent.

At the time, the hotel was smaller, having expanded since then by moving into neighbouring buildings.

The hotel had opened in 1935, but had been doing bed and breakfast throughout Work War Two and into the early 50s.

Roy and Mary Powell, from Cantley, Doncaster, on their wedding day in 1955

“It was very different in those days,” said Mary. “We had our weddings photos done in front of the hotel in the park at Regent Square. It didn’t have all the reception area it has now.”

After the reception, the couple set off on an adventurous honeymoon which saw them head out on a 2,000 mile round trip around Europe on a motorbike a side car.

Roy said: “We rode from Bennetthorpe to Kent, and then got onto an aeroplane to France. The front of the plane opened up to take the bike on board.”

After landing in northern France, the couple went on to ride around Europe taking in France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein, in a two week tour that saw them sleeping under canvas.

Roy, a mechanic by trade who served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, also raced his own souped-up motorbikes, with Mary working for him as his pit-girl. They also used to go skiing in the Peak District.

The couple are still adventurous in their holidays – and head off to Madeira every year to go walking in the Nevadas.

“We love the mountains, and the higher the better,” said Mary, adding that she thought being moderate in all things and doing things together were the key to a long and successful marriage.

The couple have a son and a daughter and five grandchildren.

“It was great to find out they were the first couple who had their wedding reception here,” said hotel owner Simon. “That would have been my great grandmother Nellie who organised it.”