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Norwich couple’s journey through life passes diamond milestone

Jill and Philip Armes celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jill and Philip Armes celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

It has been more than 60 years since Jill and Philip Armes first felt the wind whip through their hair as they rode a Vespa.

Jill and Philip Armes on their wedding day 60 years ago. Picture: supplied by Jill and Philip Armes Jill and Philip Armes on their wedding day 60 years ago. Picture: supplied by Jill and Philip Armes

And although the scooter may now be long gone, the couple continue their journey through life as they did back then - together.

Mrs Armes, 83, and Mr Armes, 93, celebrated their diamond wedding on December 30 with family at their home in Wroxham Road, Sprowston.

The couple have fond memories of their early Sundays spent riding through the countryside with other Vespa fans.

Mrs Armes said: “He didn’t go too fast on it, but we didn’t wear crash helmets in those days. We had some good times.”

One of Philip's pictures of the Norwich Vesper Club he started up. Picture: Philip Armes One of Philip's pictures of the Norwich Vesper Club he started up. Picture: Philip Armes

Mr Armes said: “I drove more carefully with her on the back. You had to be careful because it was not very stable.

“Back then the scooter was like the bicycle when that came in - it gave people freedom.

“We would always go out on the Sunday as a group. It was quite something when there were eight or nine Vespers together.”

The couple were both born in Norwich, and Mr Armes started his career in the library service of The Corporation, which proceeded the city and county councils.

One of Philip's pictures of the Norwich Vesper Club he started up. Picture: Philip Armes One of Philip's pictures of the Norwich Vesper Club he started up. Picture: Philip Armes

In the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force as a fitter, servicing Dakota transport planes in Egypt, Italy and Burma.

It was while serving in Italy that Mr Armes developed a keen interest in cameras, and after the war he returned to work for the Corporation, but as a photography assistant in the engineering department.

Mr Armes spent the rest of his working life doing a job he loved, taking thousands of shots of buildings and artworks until he retired in 1988.

But it was Piaggio’s two-wheeled revolution that led him to his future wife.

He said: “It was the time when the Vespa scooter came in. To me it seemed to be the ideal form of transport.

“If I’m interested in something, I like to get organised, so I organised the East Anglian branch of the Vespa club.

“There was a newsletter that went out to all of the owners and one of them was Jill’s brother, so I went around to see him and that’s how we met. “I needed someone as a pillion rider!”

Mrs Armes trained as a hairdresser before leaving to raise their five children. They now also have 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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