WHEN 16-year-old Vi Titley from Birmingham started to write to 18-year-old Portland soldier Terry Woodhouse, little did she think that they would celebrate their golden wedding on the island.

Terry, a cook in the army, was on his way to Korea in a troop ship when a friend asked him if he would care to have a friend of his girlfriend as a penpal - and so it began.

Two years later, Terry came home and made his way to Birmingham where he had arranged to meet Vi at the railway station - but she wasn't there.

Now she confesses that she was so excited at the thought of meeting Terry at last that she got the train times entirely mixed up.

With two years of addressing envelopes to her behind him, Terry had no difficulty in finding her home.

Terry stayed on in the army for a further three years and he and Vi, a seamstress for Marks & Spencer, married in Birmingham on March 23, 1957.

They came to Portland to make their home and Terry resumed work at the Red House Bakery in Fortuneswell where he had started at the age of 14 putting jam into doughnuts.

From being a seamstress, Vi became a hairdresser with her mother-in-law who traded under her maiden name of May Hadley, the first women to open a ladies' hairdressing salon on Portland in premises opposite the Royal Portland Arms.

Vi worked in her mother-in-law's new premises further down Fortuneswell and she recalls that there were 64 shops in the street then.

The couple have one daughter, Beverley Gould, and three grandsons who are their pride and joy.

Terry retired from the Red House Bakery in 2001 after 50 years and he took with him the 'doughcake secret recipe' given to him by his employer Michael Cox.

He said: "I will never divulge it, not even to Vi, as it is for the Cox family to decide if it will ever be passed on."

Terry, 72, will always be glad that he became Vi's penfriend and both are very happy with island life and are members of Portland RBL and North Portland Working Men's Club.