Leek local, Ernie Salt, 81 has been selling The Salvation Army War Cry* magazine in the town for over 20 years and never imagined he would fall in love again following the death of his wife several years ago.
Ernie is well known in the historic market town and has attended The Salvation Army church since 1989. He can be seen selling the magazine most Wednesday and Saturday mornings, having a chat in the process.
In May last year on an ordinary day in Leek, an unsuspecting Ernie had no idea that love was actually only around the corner. Ernie said:
“She used to come up Derby Street and I had no idea I was on the radar at all, not the foggiest and she used to donate regularly. I used to think, ‘oh that was generous, thank you very much’ – little suspecting anything.”
Cue Jenny, 74 who returned to Leek in 2021 after living in Hull for 25 years. Jenny always enjoyed having a little chat to Ernie when she bought a copy of the War Cry.
She said: “We met through the War Cry and then I invited him for a cup of coffee and the rest is history, so they say. But I had liked Ernie for a while and one night, when I went to bed I said to God, ‘can I have Ernie please as I quite like him’…and the next thing is, I don’t know how, but we ended up getting married. That was one prayer that was answered.
“I got buy one get one free. I got to know Keith (Ernie’s son) and he got on well with me. And we are now quite a nice little family, so that’s good.”
Romance blossomed between the pair in May 2022, they got engaged in August later that year and married in April 2023. Jenny said:
“We had the most amazing wedding at The Salvation Army, with a blessing from the minister at my church at the same time. We both have a lot in common, I’m still getting use to the new name.” Ernie said: “I’ve found it quite easy” with a big smile on his face.
Jenny had also been married previously and said: “I moved back because I had family here, my son and his children. Then I met Ernie. I was definitely back here in Leek for a reason. We can look after each other now.”
The couple are both Christians and respect each other’s church. Jenny, who serves at All Saint’s church, said:
“My Church of England service finishes at 10.30 and his starts at 11, so I do a quick wash-up and get down here for the Sally Army service, so I get best of both worlds. I’m able to sit in the service and enjoy it, Ernie comes to support me and I support him. We do separate churches but together as well.”
Jenny attends The Salvation Army church for bible studies. They have a mutual appreciation and respect for each other’s commitment to church attendance.
Ernie and Jenny are off on holiday to Greece in October. Jenny, who has never been outside the UK before, says: “This will be quite an adventure.” They are both excited about creating new memories together.
*The War Cry is the official Salvation Army weekly publication that is sold by volunteers and members of the Christian church and charity. It can be purchased or in return for a donation.