Sunrise of Virginia Water Couple Celebrate 65th Wedding Anniversary

Jack and Erika Porter, a couple at Sunrise of Virginia Water, have celebrated their 65th Wedding Anniversary.

The couple celebrated their remarkable achievement with a delicious cake that was decorated to reflect their favourite pastime of golfing together. Although the couple have never made a big fuss about their wedding anniversaries, the Porters celebrated this special day under a golden banner which proclaimed their 65 years of marriage.

Jack, who is 88 years old, and Ericka, 86 years old, married in Nigeria in 1955 in what was a highly unusual circumstance. Jack was working for a bank in this part of Africa while living in a small hut with walls made from mud and a thatched roof. Erika remembers how the native hut had “no windows and no door, just an opening. It was in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles away and out in the bush”. Despite living in Switzerland at the time, she caught a 6am flight to then marry Jack at 4pm on the same day. Recalling their wedding day, Erika said “we had no wedding cake and no traditional wedding dress. When I left Switzerland, I had no idea when we were going to get married, or where.”

On the day, none of their family members were able to attend their wedding as it was difficult to reach Nigeria from England and Switzerland 65 years ago. The couple also said that the wedding was almost unplanned which meant that the best man and those in attendance were all colleagues of Jack’s from the bank he worked at. However, Jack and Erika were able to marry in an American Missionary chapel, giving them a certain sense of tradition which they had hoped for.

While in Nigeria, the Porters had three children together and went on to spend most of their married life abroad, living in Nigeria, Bahrain, Switzerland and Oman. Their frequent moving meant that Erika has furnished twenty-four houses during their marriage but, as she remarked, “luckily not the mud hut!”

The couple said that their extensive travelling has been a privilege and hugely enjoyable as it has allowed them to experience many different cultures. They added, “travelling and going abroad can really broaden your horizons. Young people are very lucky to be able to travel nowadays.” In their spare time Jack and Erika would also enjoy playing golf as well as gardening, doing yoga and practicing mindfulness and meditation.

Jack and Erika joined Sunrise of Virginia Water on 31st March this year during the lockdown period. Although they were unable to meet other residents for their first few months at the care home, their experiences of adapting to such a wide variety of different cultures meant that they have settled in well and made plenty of new friends with ease.

Asked what their advice is for a long and happy marriage, they said: “give one another enough space so you can be yourselves. It’s not all sunshine – it’s a lot of give and take!”


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