Point-to-point champ saves love affair

PUBLISHED: 09:22 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:58 15 June 2010

HE was suited and booted and she was wearing a particularly fetching frock, made by her mother.

HE was suited and booted and she was wearing a particularly fetching frock, made by her mother.Young farmer Nipper Reed, of Farway, and school secretary Molly (Monica) Hallett didn't know each other, but they were both attending a dance in Hawkchurch Village Hall.Nipper went to the dance with his brother, but quickly spotted Molly, who was wearing a pink dress, with brown spots and brown bows that looked like butterflies. She had been dancing around the hall in a pair of matching, sling-back shoes.Eddie Selway's band was playing.More than 60 years later, Nipper recalls: "I saw Molly at the end of the room and I decided to go over and ask her to dance. But, she saw me coming and walked into the cloakroom."Nipper decided not to give up and waited for Molly to come out, sitting on the edge of the stage. He combed his hair while he waited, a habit he has never outgrown."When she came out, I asked her to dance.""We have been dancing ever since!" said Molly.The couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary on Thursday last week (June 19).Their romance survived fuel rationing - thanks to Flash the Sixth, Nipper's prize-winning point-to-point horse."I courted Molly by horseback," he said. "Her dad liked me, because he used to get the stable at Hawkchurch ready."Nipper was a member of the Homeguard at Farway and regularly guarded Honiton Tunnel.The couple were married at St Michael's Church, Farway. A picture of their wedding was recently exhibited in the village as part of the Farway Weddings event.Following their marriage, the couple lived in Farway for four years. Their first three children, Jenny, Gill and Karen, were born during this time.Nipper and Molly then moved to Monkton, where he farmed and she ran a bed and breakfast. Kevin, Tim and Julie were born."How we managed, I don't know," said Molly. "We got through it."After 35 years in farming, Nipper suffered a bout of ill health and the family moved to Mount Close in Honiton. They then moved to Honiton Bottom Road, where they have lived for 21 years.As well as having six children, they have 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.Nipper is 85 and Molly is 76.Flash the Sixth is still fondly remembered by the couple. A photograph of Nipper clearing a fence on Flash's back adorns a wall in their living room.While a member of Axe Vale Harriers, Nipper won first prize in a farmers' race and three second prizes - all with Flash."We love going to point-to-point meetings and Newton Abbot Racecourse," said Molly. "We usually have a bet, because it makes it more fun."The couple started their wedding anniversary celebrations on Sunday, June 15, with a family meal for 28 adults and three children at The Air Centre, Dunkeswell. A huge, blown up photograph of the couple on their wedding day was presented to them during the event.The day before their anniversary, they hosted the first of three 'open house' events for friends."We've got so many friends, we couldn't get them all in our home at the same time," said Molly.On the day of their anniversary, they were visited by the Midweek Herald, a top secret surprise arranged by their children, before daughter Gill hosted a celebration at her home in Honiton.When asked to reveal the secret of their long marriage, Nipper said: "An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband."Molly's advice to young couples starting out is: "Give and take, and never go to bed on an argument. We have had a good life together."After retiring from farming, Nipper became a scrap metal dealer. He still works, supported by his children.He and Molly are members of the Royal British Legion Club in Honiton. Donations, given by well wishers to mark their wedding anniversary, are being split between the Poppy Fund and the Devon Air Ambulance.A card from the Queen nestled among many others on the couple's mantelpiece as Nipper said: "I've never had a lot of money, but I've got a lovely family.

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