Norwich teenage sweethearts to celebrate diamond wedding anniversary
PUBLISHED: 11:55 10 May 2017
A pair of teenage sweethearts who met in front of the silver screen are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary tomorrow.
Norwich born and bred Ellen and Alan Cooper, 78 and 79, from Three Score, married at Norwich City Hall on May 11, 1957, but spent their first year apart because of Mr Cooper’s army service.
The couple have two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and will celebrate their diamond anniversary among friends and family.
There was no formal engagement and Mr Cooper surprised his future wife outside her work at the former Shingler and Thetford shoe factory on Pottergate by setting a date for their wedding himself.
Mrs Cooper said: “He sprung it on me and said he had put in the marriage banns at city hall and we would be married in three weeks time.”
The couple married when she was 18 and he was 19 but Mr Cooper, a former HGV driver, had to go on army training two days after the ceremony.
“It was a bit of a blur,” Mr Cooper added.
Speaking about the secret of a long marriage, Mrs Cooper said: “You have to work at it. You will always have problems and difficulties but you have got to work together.
“Alan is good as gold - he is one of the best. We have always got on with each other.
“We are looking forward to our anniversary party, especially because we will see people we have not seen for some time.”
Her husband, who was a trooper and tank driver for the Royal Tank Regiment from 1955-1958, said: “Ellen is a good friend and companion.”
Mrs Cooper, who grew up on the Larkman Estate, was 15-years-old when she first met her future husband, then aged 16, at Norwich’s former Theatre de Luxe cinema on St Andrew’s Street in 1954.
Mr Cooper, whose father used to run the Mariners Tavern on Mariner’s Lane, was at the cinema with friends when his future wife was visiting the venue.
“His friend came over to me and said do you want to sit with Alan. We sat together and shook hands,” Mrs Cooper added.
The couple’s relationship developed from then on but they had to communicate by letter while Mr Cooper was in Germany, Salisbury Plain or Stanford Training Area near Thetford.