Seaholme’s George and Maroula Said vividly remember their first dance, 75 years ago.
The two, who recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, grew up in the same neighbourhood as British subjects in Egypt.
Mr Said, 86, first danced with Maroula when she was just 10.
“When I was 11, there was a fancy dress ball and I dressed as a woman,” he said.
“I had a wire crinoline with a wig – Madame de Pompadour; white hair and I even had a beauty spot and a fan.
“I went there and this guy came along and said, ‘Miss, would you like me to get a young man to dance with you?’
“I thought, I’m not dancing with any of my friends – they’ll twig if I speak – so I said, ‘No, I’d rather dance with a girl’.
“He then went and brought Maroula.
“I didn’t say a single word because she would have twigged who I was.”
As they grew up together, Mrs Said admired her future husband “from a distance”.
“When I got a bit older, we used to sneak and meet – thinking my mother didn’t know, but of course my mother knew all about it,” she said.
Ten years after their first dance, the pair married on September 19, 1954.
Two years on, the Suez Crisis hit and the Said family was placed under house arrest.
George and Maroula, together with their baby daughter, Tassie, were given 10 days to leave the country.
They fled to London, where they lived as penniless refugees, during which time Mr Said joined the British trade union movement and became an advocate for change. Eventually, the family’s frozen assets were released and they migrated to Australia in 1962.
Mr Said said growing up together had given Maroula and himself a unique shared history.
“Even now, we still talk about those days in Egypt,” he said. “We experienced going to England, not very happy there and we were struggling, so we have that, that we share.
“We dare not lose it.”