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Former RAF Burtonwood servicemen return to the town
2:30pm Saturday 16th June 2012 in News
FORMER servicemen and their wives returned to Warrington last week for a special reunion.
For many it rekindled memories of meeting their wife or husband or recalling happy times at the American base in the heritage centre.
The Warrington Guardian spoke to some of the couples who returned to the place their relationship began more than half a century ago.
SISTERS Joyce and Stella Mulholland, formerly of Orford Lane, returned to Burtonwood for the reunion from sunny northern California.
Joyce, who married husband Ric Simmons 59 years ago at St Benedict’s Church in Orford, was a member of the TA for two years.
Ric, aged 80, worked in parachute survival and air and sea rescue at the base.
The couple lived in Texas and Florida before settling with Stella, aged 72, in Folsom and hosted a reunion four years ago in the Californian city.
Joyce, aged 79, said: “My mother said ‘don’t you bring a Yank home to me’ but that was quite common then.
“Ric asked me to go to the pictures and my dad said it was okay.
“He asked me the next date to marry him and I told him to ask me again in six months, thinking he would be long gone b.y then.
“But then six months later he asked again and finally after a year-and-a-half, I said yes.”
The couple were engaged two weeks before the Queen’s coronation and have four children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Dancer Stella met her husband Bill Studebaker as her dad put on concerts for the Americans in Burtonwood.
Bill died in 1995 and they have seven children, nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
BEAUTY contestant Margaret Verrier, formerly of Wilson Patten Street, spotted a picture of herself in the heritage centre.
The 82-year-old was second in a Miss Burtonwood competition and later married Norman Theodore Mingo.
She worked on the airbase between 1948 to 1954 as a secretary and in production control maintenance, which meant talking to planes coming in from Berlin.
Margaret, who still lives in Manhattan after moving to New York with her sergeant husband, said: “I loved that time and I’m always thinking about it because they were the happiest days of my life.
“I dated lots of pilots but I met my husband in headquarters.
“Captain Stanley Mandelowitc delivered my first child on the airbase and then was in the USA to deliver my next two children.
“I couldn’t believe it when I spotted my picture.
“Everyone booed when I came second in the contest because the winner was married to the colonel!”
For more stories and pictures see this week's Warrington Guardian, out now.