ALAN MELVILLE used to hang the red and white silk drapes from the ceiling of the Queens Rink Ballroom. But he was dancing on the ceiling when the girl from Grafton’s agreed to let him walk her home.
Josie Johnson worked at the ladies’ clothes shop in Musgrave Road while Alan worked in Robinson’s Upholsterers next door.
Josie recalled: “I was the junior there and they used to send me over the road to the Piccadilly Bar to get the coffee and cakes for our break and I would hear Alan and his mates whistling out of the window.
“One night at the Rink, Alan’s friend Terry came over and said Alan wants to take you home. I said he can but I’m getting the bus home because my mam will kill me if I’m late.
“He walked me from the bus stop to the door and then I went in. There was no coming in for coffee in those days,” she chuckled.
The pair met in 1960 when Josie lived in Annandale Crescent and Alan lived in Wesley Street.
“My house would probably be where Boots Chemist is in the town centre now,” Alan laughed.
After that first date, they continued to meet at the Rink until they married in 1968. The couple now live in the Fens area and have two grown up children Adam and Vicky.
Josie, now 67, recalled: “I would go to the Rink with the girls and Alan would go with the boys. He always used to say Save the Last Dance for me was his song but we never danced together. He was a rubbish dancer and the boys never danced any way.
“It was 3 and 9d to get in and 3d for the cloakroom. Sometimes we’d go early in our rollers and take them out in the toilets. Me and my friend Freda were the first ones to wear mini-skirts there. We saw them in a fashion magazine and made our own. We got a few looks off the girls that night but after a few weeks they would say ‘make us one of those mini skirts, we’ll pay you’.”