by Dave Barry
Filey man Tom Ballinger swapped his tonsils for a girlfriend in hospital nearly 66 years ago.
In 1952, having your tonsils removed involved a fortnight in hospital.
Being a signalman in the Signals Regiment, attached to the War Office and stationed in Woolwich, Tom had to go to a military hospital.
While recuperating, he fell in love with a young woman, Peggy Kempton from Dartford, who was working in the hospital’s Naafi shop.
“We hit it off straight away”, Tom says. “It was love at first sight”.
Seven months later, on 13 September 1952, the couple married at St Andrew’s Church in Tom’s native Liverpool. “Strike while the iron’s hot!” Tom says.
By then, he had been demobbed and had returned to the family home.
He trained as a plumber but switched to the building trade and became a branch manager for a national roofing firm.
After having and bringing up their children, Peggy worked as a housemother in a girls assessment centre, previously known as a remand home, for 15 years before retiring.
The couple lived in Liverpool until 1990, when they swapped the west coast for the east coast. They had visited Filey for holidays and fallen in love with it, Tom recalls.
They have two daughters. Linda is married to John Molyneux. Their daughter Sarah has a son Aaron, 9.
Susan and her husband Terry Holmes have four children: Emma, David, Charlotte (Charlie) and Maddie. Between them, they have provided Tom and Peggy with six great grandchildren: Jack, Alice, Spencer, Isobel, Max and Ella.
Most of the family live in Filey except Linda and her family who live in Derbyshire and David who lives in Leeds.
Tom, 88, and Peggy, 87, of Chevin Drive, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with a family celebration at the Smugglers Cove in the Buccaneer in Union Street, Filey.
It was attended by 19 people: 12 adults and seven children.