70 YEARS MARRIED !!
Tony and Helen Delahoy retired to Edinburgh 25 years ago and they had a great day on 19 August when they celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary with their two children and some of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Tony, writer of many a letter to NEN over the years, met his wife Helen when they were both working for the Co-op in South East London. He was her milkman and she pulled a bread cart!
Young Tony was called up to fight in the Second World War on his 18th birthday and he married Helen a year later in 1942. By that time he had been ‘volunteered’ to be trained as a dispatch rider on a motorbike, a position that carried with it a life expectancy of 3 days!
Helen, because of rationing, had to choose between a wedding dress and a warm winter coat for their August wedding. With her usual flair for forward planning she chose the winter coat! Their house was bombed in the blitz which razed SE London to the ground and Helen was sent off to make munitions as her part in the war. Tony went to Normandy for D-Day in the Polar Bear division and survived longer than the expected 3 days as a dispatch rider through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany, ending his war as a Gordon Highlander in India in 1946.
Tony had left school at 14 years old because his family could not afford to send him to secondary school but he always remembers the influence of his primary school teacher who must have been something of a socialist, introducing him to the local library and left wing books and articles.
Helen was born only a few years after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and both Helen and Tony were brought up at the time of the Wall St Crash and the General Strike of 1926.
Tony did some of his training in Ayrshire, travelling all over on his bike, meeting the people and loving the country. All these influences spurred Tony on to be an outspoken champion of working people and to see how history can repeat itself and what must be done collectively to stop the attacks on people’s living standards today. He is active in the local community taking part in Pilton Equalities Project and North Edinburgh Fights Back and making sure he writes to the papers when hard won things like Education, the NHS and the Green Belt are threatened.
When Helen was asked what it was like being married to Tony for 70 years she replied: ‘Wonderful!’
Now, that’s an achievement!!