When Joan Crisp took her dog for a walk, the last thing she expected was to meet the man she would celebrate 70 years with.

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As she walked past his army barracks Horace Rafferty caught the teenager’s eye.

Their quick exchange led to a date at the cinema and this week a platinum wedding anniversary.

Joan recalled: ““My husband was based at the Anglia Barracks in Norwich as a PT instructor and I just walked past. He was outside with his mate. He said something to me, although I can’t remember what and I gave him a cheeky answer,”

Although she couldn’t remember the exact proposal, the pair married at Hardley Church on July 18 1942 before Horace was sent to Italy for three years with the infantry.

“It started off as a lovely day, my mum and dad had a big marquee in their garden and we were all going to eat in there, but then there was a thunderstorm,” said Joan, 88.

“There was concerns from the men about the beer so we got that out and then we had the food in two sittings inside my mum’s house. One group sat down and then the next lot.”

The honeymoon was spent biking to Bungay where they stayed in a cottage owned by Joan’s granny.

While Horace, 92, worked away Joan found work at Carrow Works in Norwich, now Colmans, packing vegetables into tins to be sent abroad to the soldiers.

When he returned they settled in Langley Road, Chedgrave, where they have lived for the past 60 years.

Joan cared for their two daughters and Horace found work in the dispatch department at Eastern County Newspapers, now Archant. In later years he became a driver for Colmans of Norwich.

Joan said they spend their retirement reading and enjoying the garden.

She added: “When we were fit we did a lot sequence dancing at different clubs and then the big dances at the weekend. Now we go to meet up with our friends we made years ago.

“We’re lucky as my husband still drives so when it’s nice we go out for a ride and do things together.

“We’re quite happy and grateful really as we’re still here and we’re still able to get about. We’ve probably slowed up a bit but on the whole we manage well, which is something to be proud and grateful for.”

The couple, who have four grandchildren and four great grandchildren, are looking forward to a celebration tomorrow at their daughter’s house in Sprowston.

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