Dictionary helped pair live ‘happy ever after’

Ernest and Ilse Vickers. Ernest and Ilse Vickers. of  Well Gate Stannington who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Ernest and Ilse Vickers. Ernest and Ilse Vickers. of Well Gate Stannington who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
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IT reads like one of the great romantic movies and has led to a real-life ‘happy ever after’.

For behind the 60th wedding anniversary of Ernest and Ilse Vickers is a tale of romance, coincidence and adversity.

The pair met in 1949 four years after Ilse’s family fled her home village in Prussia as the Russian army advanced during World War Two.

And they only took their first dance at Sheffield City Hall because Ilse, then working at Nether Edge Hospital, got out of bed to go with friends.

The Stannington sweethearts, who spoke just a few words of the other’s language, began a friendship which blossomed into love with a help of a German English dictionary.

Former catering worker Ilse, aged 80, said: “Now when you look back it was an unusual way to meet.

“If I hadn’t have got out of bed and gone to the City Hall I wouldn’t have met Ernest.

“I have had a lovely marriage, been a British national since 1952 and I have got a nice big family. There was a happy ever after.”

After their first dance airman Ernest took Ilse on a walk which ended at Underbank Chapel in Stannington – where they tied the knot on March 26, 1952.

Retired mechanic Ernest, 83, said: “She could hardly speak a word of English. I had been working in Egypt with some German prisoners of war and I picked up quite a bit of German so I wasn’t entirely stuck.

“I bought an English to German dictionary and whenever we used to meet I would take it.”

The couple moved to Gibraltar as Ernest was still in the forces but settled on Well Green Road, Stannington, in 1956.

They have two children, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Ernest said: “The secret to a happy marriage is never to fall out. If you don’t agree sit down and talk.”