Disley diamond duo celebrate 60 years of marriage

Mart and Janet Rodger of Disley, who are celebrating 6o years of marriage.
Mart and Janet Rodger of Disley, who are celebrating 6o years of marriage.

A couple who first met at the age of four are preparing to celebrate 60 years of happy marriage together.

Mart and Janet Rodger, both aged 81, are each other’s biggest supporters and say they still wake up smiling everyday.

Janet said: “We weren’t childhood sweethearts - little boys don’t like little girls when they are four - but now I could never be without him.”

She said Mart was forced to drop out of school at the age of seven after he became ill.

“It was wartime and Mart needed an operation, so it was done on his dining room table,” she said.

“He got an infection that spread to his lungs, and as there were no antibiotics to treat him he got steadily worse.”

It was left to his father to take the brave decision for Mart to undergo another operation - when there was only a 20 per cent chance of him surviving.

After a year off school, Mart had forgotten how to read and write and had to be privately taught.

Janet said: “I still saw him around as we still lived in the same town.

“We were reunited through a friend who was being taught the banjo by Mart, who kept asking me to come along and watch them.

“I had dancing on a Saturday night so never went until my dancing friends got dates, and I had no-one to go with so went along and was hooked on the music.”

Mart taught Janet to play the banjo, which she continued while he was away on National Service for two years.

The duo were quickly married on August 3, 1957, as they were offered a furnished flat but had to be married before they lived together.

Janet, who worked at Tootles Textile Factory in Manchester, was allowed to buy five yards of fabric at a shilling a yard as a wedding gift from the company.

She said: “I made a beautiful dress - it had to be sleeveless as I hadn’t got enough fabric, but it had a long skirt and was really lovely.”

The doting duo have always lived in Disley, and have been in their current home on Fletcher Drive for 43 years.

They have three children, Simon, 58, Andrew, 56, and Claire 53, and five grandchildren.

During their 60 years together they have travelled the world with Mart’s various jazz bands, including 36 visits to Norway and four trips to Vancouver.

Janet said: “Once we were in New Orleans listening to jazz and Mart asked if he could join in and was told no... but after striking up a conversation and realising he was from Manchester and in a band they welcomed him with open arms onto the stage.”

She added: “I think the key to a marriage like ours is to be each other’s biggest supporter and to be there when the other person needs you.”