Mixed-race couple recalls the time a priest refused to marry them: ‘We were upset about that’

No one, not even Trudy Menard, could have predicted that Trudy Menard and Barclay Patoir would ultimately become a pair. And one that would commemorate more than seven decades of marriage!

Those around them got less appreciative of their connection as they gradually began to like each other since Trudy was white and Barclay was black. They even had a disagreement with the priest who was to marry them.

But their love triumphed, and they remained together to the end, when they both died within hours of each other in 2020.

Trudy had been employed at Bryant and May’s match factory in the United Kingdom, but when it was bombed during the Blitz, she needed a new career.

She sought a new job and was told that the Rootes aircraft plant in Speke was looking for ladies.They were matched with engineers, who advised her to go with Barclay. She is not going with a black man, she said. She’ve never seen anything like it.’ But they warned her she’d be fired if she didn’t, so she simply got on with it,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Barclay had recently arrived in the UK from British Guiana, now known as Guyana, in search of a job as an engineer.

In World War II, there was a scarcity of engineer abilities in Britain, so young men from the Caribbean offered to support the home nation, he explained.

345 individuals went to Liverpool between 1941 and 1943 to help with war manufacturing. One of them was Barclay.

He was assigned to work on Halifax bombers at the Speke facility when he arrived.

Trudy acknowledged that she was “scared to death of him” at the time.

They didn’t talk for a long, and then he began bringing you a cup of tea, and then he began bringing her sandwiches.

Although it took some time for them to warm up to each other, they couldn’t stop talking.

They’re never going to come down now, they’re chatting too much, people at work used to remark.

During a break in production, the two embarked on their first date. They rode the train to Southport and experienced ugly stares along the way, but they continued with their date.

Regardless of that Liverpool had one of the country’s first established Black communities, racism was very much alive.

She didn’t inform her mother that she was going to visit Barclay, Trudy explained. She mistook her for heading into town to meet the females. She had seen that Trudy was really joyful, but she had no idea why. When she found out, she threatened to kick her out of the house.

Despite the fact that society said they shouldn’t be together, Trudy and Barclay reinforced their bond by choosing to date openly in public.

They agreed to take the next step about a year into their relationship in 1944, despite Barclay’s warning, “It’s going to be really hard.”

She understood that she wanted to be with Barclay for the rest of her life.

However marrying him proved difficult. When they went to a local Catholic church to get married, the priest refused.

“He added, ‘There are so many colored males coming over here and leaving the women with children.  So he is not going to marry you.’ That made us unhappy.”

Rather than a church wedding, as Trudy had desired, the pair chose a simple ceremony in the Liverpool Register Office. Barclay’s buddy and one of Trudy’s sisters came, and the four of them then went out to eat.

They finally moved from Liverpool to Manchester, but finding a place to reside was tough.

But it was tough to obtain housing as no one could accept one if one were a mixed marriage, Barclay explained.

They rented a room in a boarding house and finally established a new life in Manchester. The pair even had a Catholic priest marry them in a second wedding ceremony.

The couple, who had two kids, saw a shift in society’s attitude toward mixed-race families.

Not only did Trudy’s mother alter her mind, but others did as well.

Individuals used to pause and stare at them, or mutter and laugh as they went, but now they’re not worried,” Barclay explained.

People don’t stroll across the street as they used to, Trudy observed.

Trudy and Barclay were married for 76 years until passing away in May 2020. When they died within hours of one other, Barclay was 100 years old and Trudy was 99 years old.

Despite the fact that their first encounter was rough, they stayed together till the end.

I’m pleased Barclay and Trudy ignored people who told them they shouldn’t be together. It is none of their concern who you love.

Please spread the word about this.

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