Peter and Marie Skelton have many reasons to be happy. Through hard work and good contacts, they acquired a second home in Saint Lucia. After recognising a kindred spirit in each other back in the 1960s, they recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. This is their story.

Peter Skelton hails from Essex, England while Marie was born in County Kildare, Ireland. They both emigrated independently to Canada, settling in Winnipeg which, decades later, remains their summer base. In their early days, a tall and handsome Peter spotted a beautiful, dark-haired Irish colleen and was smitten. They married, had three children and worked hard at their respective careers.

Winnipeg can be brutally cold in the winter so, for two weeks each year, the Skelton family escaped to the islands to enjoy a few weeks of warmth. One summer in Winnipeg, at their local church, they met Mark Beaubrun, a Saint Lucian who spent several months each year in Canada. So convincing was he in his description of the beauty of our island that Peter and Marie booked their next winter break in Saint Lucia, staying at Tuxedo Villas (now Beach Cross Villa Apartments) in Rodney Bay. Mark showed the family around and introduced them to locals who soon became their friends. On top of that, the Mondesirs, who owned Tuxedo Villas, also had family in Winnipeg. Saint Lucia was beginning to feel like a home from home!

From then on, the Skeltons visited Saint Lucia every winter, gradually increasing their two-week vacation to five. After the children had grown up, and Peter and Marie could spend months rather than weeks here, they thought it would be best to look for a long-term rental apartment. But one day, while out walking, they came across a property in a convenient location with beautiful grounds, for sale at a reasonable price. They paid a deposit that same day! The unexpected bonus was that the recommended lawyer, Lorraine Debra Glace, became another good friend.

Nowadays, Peter and Marie spend each winter in Saint Lucia, visited by their children, grandchildren, brother, sisters, in-laws and friends from around the world. They dedicate time to tending their garden, growing flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits, many of which are incorporated in their meals, cooking being another hobby. “For us, it’s important to be ‘green’: to grow our own produce or otherwise purchase locally-grown items,” says Marie.

The environmentally-friendly ethos extends to not owning a car so Peter and Marie do lots of walking or take the bus. Their days revolve around the beach and pool (Marie is a swimming instructor and is into ‘aquacise’) while several evenings each week are devoted to dancing at Salsa Saint Lucia events. This year Marie and Peter are delighted to be learning traditional local dances such as the quadrille and la comete. They are members of the Saint Lucia National Trust and their community work includes volunteering at SLAPS (Saint Lucia Animal Protection Society) and looking after local cats.

The couple’s favourite venues for a sunset drink are Spinnakers and Bay Gardens Beach Resort on Reduit Beach. High on the list of places for dinner are Razmataz and Delirius while the choice for a celebratory lunch is The Bodyholiday at Le Sport.

So, has living in Saint Lucia contributed to Peter and Marie achieving the milestone of 50 years of wedded bliss? It was certainly the perfect place and climate for their March celebration with family and friends, from ‘down the road’ and ‘across the miles’.

And for the future? “Being ‘green’, I would love to see more recycling in Saint Lucia but so long as I have Marie by my side and we spend our winters here, then life will be golden,” admits Peter.