Queen sends message to 65th wedding anniversary couple


A couple who lived around the corner from each other as children celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on November 20 with a message from the Queen.

Fred and Hazel Wooding knew each other by sight when he lived in Union Street and she in Trevor Street, Bedford. But it was when Fred joined the Navy and came home in uniform that he won the heart of the girl who grew up almost next door.

In the orphanage, he developed an interest in athletics and boxing and when he settled as a married man – eventually in Queen’s Park – he became a timekeeper and judge at the local clubs, later becoming chairman and then president of Bedford and County during the Paula Radcliffe era. In 2012 he was awarded the MBE for services to the community.

Life wasn’t always the bed of roses it is today. Fred, 90 in 2020, spent a dozen years in an orphanage after his mother died when he was just three. He came back to Union Street at 16 to discover he had a father as well as brothers and sisters. He then served in the Navy before suffering a serious injury in a Maltese dockyard.

Hazel was a shop assistant while Fred worked at Meltis and on the railway. Later they set up Sportsform – now a successful business in Fenlake Road run by one of his two daughters and her husband.