“No regrets” after 71 years of married life

By Press Release Sep 29, 2021

“I’ve no regrets at all. It’s not always been easy; in fact we’ve had some hard times, but if I could do it all again I would, with no hesitation,” says Maisie Kitching as she looks back on marriage with her beloved Fred.

When Fred was advised to retire by his doctor at the age of 62, he worried how they would manage. Maisie’s reply was firm: he must do as the doctor told him; she’d happily live on bread and jam than be without him. Luckily, Fred took her advice and, on Wednesday, they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.

The couple, both born in St Helens, almost never made it down the aisle at all. Fred first asked Maisie’s father, Jim Mantle, for his daughter’s hand in marriage when she was just 17, and he was nearly 10 years older. Jim refused outright, but said he could ask again when Maisie was 18. He did, but was rebuffed again and it took Maisie’s mother, Ena, to remind Jim that they had married at 18, so he should give them his blessing. Once her father had agreed, Maisie wasn’t going to risk him changing his mind, and arranged for the banns to be called in February, although the wedding wasn’t until September.

Maisie’s parents ran the Sailor’s Home public house in St Helens, next door to The Vine after Fred’s grandmother and parents had also run the pub. Once married, Fred and Maisie followed in their families’ footsteps for a while, but Maisie wasn’t well, so Fred got a job at Britten Norman.

Aside from visits to their son, Michael, who lives in France, the couple have only had two ‘big’ holidays, one to Malta, and another in 2000 to see Christ the Redeemer who watches over Rio de Janeiro. Maisie won the ‘dream trip’ in a newspaper competition, the only one she ever entered, because Fred was watching football on the TV and she was bored. Although Fred joined her for the holiday, he was really never happier than when home on the Island.

Due to failing health, Fred now lives in a care home, a stone’s throw from Maisie, so although she misses him at home, she sees him most days.

Maisie despairs for young people who want everything brand new without ever saving up for it. “Living beyond your means leads to unhappiness in the long run,” she wisely says. And her advice for a long and happy marriage? “Never go to sleep on a quarrel.”