Couple set to marry - 55 years after their dads met in the playground

1st Mar 18 | Real Life

Fifty-five years ago schoolboys Gary and Dave, both five, became best pals - now their children are getting married.

PA REAL LIFE Laura Nice (8) Cropped

A couple who met as babies, thanks to their dads’ life-long friendship, have now had their first child together and are set to marry.

Andy Ducrow, 33, who has known Laura Nice, 31, since she was born and even went to her Christening, fell in love when they reconnected in their 20s, after drifting apart in their late teens.

Pattern designer Laura, who lives with lorry driver, Andy, in Epsom, Surrey, said: "It's a real generational love story. I can’t remember a time when Andy wasn’t in my life, while our dads fight over our son, Chase, like they might have scrapped in the playground when they met 55 years ago."

Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice with their son, Chase (Collect/PA Real Life)
Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice with their son, Chase (Collect/PA Real Life)

Their fathers, Gary Nice and Dave Ducrow, both 60, became friends when they met as schoolboys in Birmingham, West Midlands, in 1963.

Gary moved to Cambridge a few years later, with his parents, but they stayed in touch and, over the years, became best mates.

Then, after Gary married Laura's mum Jane, now 57, in summer 1984, and Dave married Andy's mum Jackie, they often hung out together as couples.

The grandads with Chase. Left to right: Dave Duckrow and Gary Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)
The grandads with Chase. Left to right: Dave Duckrow and Gary Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)

Still best friends, the granddads now can not wait to become father-in-laws, when Laura and Andy tie-the-knot.

Hopefully, their forthcoming nuptials will be more straightforward than they were for Laura’s parents.

She chuckled: “They were going to marry in June 1984, but Andy’s mum would have been heavily pregnant with him by then.”

Laura Nice poses with her engagement ring (Collect/PA Real Life)
Laura Nice poses with her engagement ring (Collect/PA Real Life)

She continued: "Dave was my dad's best man, so they moved the wedding in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, forward, to ensure they could safely attend."

Luckily, Andy stayed happily in his mum’s tummy for long enough not to upstage the bride.

Instead, he arrived safe and sound at hospital in Birmingham at the end of June, 1984 – meaning he was nearly two when Laura was born at Hinchinbrook Hospital in August 1986.

Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)
Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)

"I think I was a matter of weeks old when I met him for the first time," smiled Laura. "Of course, I can't remember. I do know when I was Christened in Ashbourne at just a few weeks old, he attended."

The pair then spent every summer holiday and Christmas together throughout their childhood.

"I was living in Cambridge and Andy was in Birmingham, so we would go to each other's homes," explained Laura. "I can remember us spending endless Christmases together. It was brilliant."

Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice, when she was heavily pregnant (Collect/PA Real Life)
Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice, when she was heavily pregnant (Collect/PA Real Life)

But, as they got older and started secondary school, they drifted apart – although their parents were still best friends.

"Andy left school at 16 to become a lorry driver, while I stayed on, doing my A-levels," said Laura, who heard through her parents that Andy, by then in his late teens, had married.

"Aged 18, I travelled around Greece and lost touch with him, except on social media," she explained.

Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)
Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)

Then, when she was around 22 and he was 24, she received a message from him on Facebook.

"He just said hello," she smiled. "Then the messages flew back and forth. We had a lot to catch up on."

Still living in Birmingham, Andy – who broke up with his wife after a few months, long before he reunited with Laura – offered to drop in on her in Cambridge, en route to London. Soon, catching up on childhood memories, they realised their friendship had blossomed into something more.

Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)
Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice (Collect/PA Real Life)

Visiting each other more regularly over the coming months – using a National Rail railcard to get a third off their trains between Cambridge and Birmingham – they fell in love. Laura recalled: "One day, I got a call from my dad. He said, 'Where are you?' Flummoxed, I told him I was with Andy.

"I had to confess we were an item and he was over-the-moon. He'd always treated Andy like a son."

Immediately, her dad invited his daughter’s new boyfriend over for Sunday dinner.

The grandads with Chase. Left to right: Gary Nice and Dave Duckrow (Collect/PA Real Life)
The grandads with Chase. Left to right: Gary Nice and Dave Duckrow (Collect/PA Real Life)

"Andy was so nervous," laughed Laura, who is currently on maternity leave. "Even though he’d met Dad hundreds of times, he suddenly became all shy."

Last December the couple moved in together in Epsom, and in November 2015 Andy proposed.

"I couldn't believe it," said Laura. "To think that those little boys, who met at school in 1963, led to us getting together all those years later."

Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice, and her dad, on her graduation (Collect/PA Real Life)
Andy Ducrow and Laura Nice, and her dad, on her graduation (Collect/PA Real Life)

And, four months ago on October 17, 2017, at Epson General Hospital, 8lb 6oz Chase was born.

"Now it's come full circle," said Laura. "We're set to get married next year. Our dads are delighted!"

*For more information about Railcard or to read more rail related love stories visit railcard.co.uk/lovestories

© Press Association 2018

MORE FROM XPOSÉ