Meet Mr and Mrs Thompson
Doreen and Peter Thompson have been married for 68 years. They met at Hodgson’s Ballroom when Doreen and her friend were being mischievous, and the landlady asked Peter to escort them to the door! A magic moment, as they arranged to meet up the following week and within a few short months, they were married at St Albans Church in North Hull where Doreen was living with her parents.
Born and bred in Beverley, Peter grew up just off Walkergate and went to Minster Boys School. As he grew up, he became a qualified mechanical engineer, working at Fenner Group where he travelled around the UK overseeing 24 industrial sites for the company. He would often take Doreen along for the ride and they would explore the country together. He finished his working life at Saltend where he thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team.
Doreen worked at Armstrong’s which suited her as a mother with small children. She worked the twilight shift and went to work when Peter arrived home, so they didn’t need childcare. This gave her independence and an income, not so common in 1950s. Doreen also worked at Fenner for a time and later in life at a few shops in Beverley town centre including: Skelton’s Bakery (where Mountain Warehouse is now located). Most Beverlonians will remember the fresh bread and noisy slicer, pies, cakes, pasties and the busy cafe on the first floor. She also worked at Safeway, which is now M&S.
Also from 1970-1973, Doreen and Peter were landlords at The Push Pub in Saturday Market.
The couple have a son and daughter and young grandchildren. Sadly, Peter has been diagnosed with dementia. Doreen is responsible for taking care of Peter who is aware of his memory problems and manages very well. He said: “I know what’s happening to me and get very frustrated, but Doreen keeps us both on track. She is and has been the most wonderful wife any man could ask for.”
Their home on Bielby Court is a superb property - an oasis of quiet and calm. Doreen and Peter have always planted it up beautifully, winning Beverley in Bloom on 3 separate occasions. The photos are displayed proudly on the living room wall, along with a photo of their wedding in 1954.
We asked Doreen what she believes is the secret to a happy marriage: “We’ve never kept any secrets and always been honest with one another. We make a good team and have a similar view of life.”
Peter says: “Looking back on our life, I wouldn’t change a single thing.”
Steve our Gardner is very well thought of by the Thompsons. “He’s like an old friend.” says Peter. “We enjoy his company, and he always does a fantastic job, making time for a chat.”
Looking back on our life, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Peter and Doreen have lived at Bielby Court for 20 years. Before that they lived in another BHC property and moved when it needed updating. “We are very happy with BHC.” Says Doreen. “We couldn’t ask for a better housing service and this little courtyard is quite special. We are very close to the town centre and have a parking space. Neither of us drive now but it’s useful for when we have visitors. We go out for a walk every day to get some fresh air and exercise, even if it’s just down to North Bar, we always enjoy wandering through Beverley.”
“We have no complaints whatsoever about BHC. It’s a fantastic charity, we feel fortunate to be residents. The rent is reasonable, and the maintenance is an excellent price, I don’t think we could get it better elsewhere, especially not for a home as good as this.”
The Thompsons like to keep themselves to themselves. Doreen enjoys being at home and loves reading. She always has two books on the go at once and loves a bit of Val Wood, an international author who lives in Beverley and sets her novels in East Yorkshire. “I always get her latest release signed by Val in time for Christmas.”
Peter had enjoyed using a laptop but recently found it more difficult to use. The BHC team is arranging a GrandPad tablet for seniors which makes it easier to access the internet.