Love wins, reports Naomi de Souza (2022)

2022 Fellow Naomi has been hunting down the good news stories in her Solihull patch, and they don’t come much more heartwarming than this.

Last month Naomi interviewed 97 year old RAF airman Prince Albert Jacob and his wife Mary, an interracial couple who married in 1948 and now live in a quiet Solihull village. Naomi found their incredible story thanks to a tucked away document on the Solihull Council archives and the hard work of archivist Tracey.  

The couple’s story is remarkable. When Jake and Mary went on their first date near the army base Jake was stationed at, they were reported. They married alone and moved to Birmingham, where people would touch Jake’s hair “to make sure it wasn’t dirty”. He went on to become a running star, representing Britain, and Mary was a popular headteacher. Still together at 97 & 92, having overcome prejudice and harship, their story shows that love wins.

Read Naomi’s original story in full, including photos of the couple then and now, here. The piece was subsequently picked up by the BBC and other news outlets in time for Remembrance day.  

Naomi has been a senior reporter covering the Solihull beat at the Birmingham Mail for 6 months.