30th April 2020
For most couples no items placed on a finger are more important than their engagement and wedding rings.
But ask Sheila and Harry Ferguson from Corby and they may have a different answer - leftover can ring pulls!
The 72-year-olds, who will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary next year, share fond memories of messing around at Wicksteed Park before the romantic 'real thing'.
The pair visited the Kettering park almost every week in the early years of their relationship and came forward with their story after an appeal to find Wicksteed's biggest fans.
Sheila said: "We used to play around on the swings and Harry used to pick up these ring can pulls.
"He would slip them on my ring finger and we would mess about and he would sing to me.
"When it came to getting engaged we went to the jewellers Leslie Smart. I looked at him and he said we had to go to Wicksteed Park and I knew what he was going to do.
"He got the engagement ring out of the box and sang to me and it was just the most romantic thing."
The couple met when they were 19 but have not been together ever since. They went out for about three months before parting because Harry, a driving instructor who followed his father Robert's footsteps, felt he was too young to settle down.
Sheila went to France to look after children and came back to Northamptonshire for her 21st birthday.
She went to a dance in the Overstone/Sywell area and it was there that they met again - and the rest, as they say, is history.
Sheila said: "Every time I think of Wicksteed Park my thoughts go back to that moment. It was just so special.
"We might not be the biggest fans now but we certainly were 50 years ago.
"I do not think anyone went to Wicksteed Park as often as Harry and I did."
Several decades later and the couple have three children - Joanna, Aimee and Ross, who is continuing the family role as a part-time driving instructor.
They still enjoy the occasional visit to Wicksteed Park with their eight grandchildren Amelia, Erin, Thomas, Riya, Ellie, Declan, Faye and Kyle.
Next year is their next anniversary milestone and Sheila shared fond memories of a trip to Tahiti to celebrate 30 years of marriage, where they joked Harry had dive to the bottom of the sea to find a big pearl.
Sheila added: "We have had such a lovely life together.
"You can be a millionaire and not have a happy life. We are not millionaires but we have had a wonderful life."
A spokesman for Wicksteed Park said: “Sheila and Harry’s story is such great example of how the park can create wonderful memories.
“We have really enjoyed reading the lovely, positive stories about people’s connections to the park over the last few weeks and would urge more people to get in touch to tell their stories and share a bit of happiness with readers at this challenging time.”
Anyone who would like to share their stories of Wicksteed Park can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Northamptonshire Telegraph on email@example.com, marking their email Wicksteed Park’s Biggest Fan.