Monday, March 24, 2014
They were teenage sweethearts who lived on the same street.
Yesterday, Dennis and Maureen Betts, both 79, celebrated 60 years of marriage surrounded by their neighbours and family.
The couple met at 16 when they both lived in Brightwell Road in Catton Grove.
They started dating, but just one year later Mr Betts joined the navy as a steward, looking after the officers.
Just before their 20th birthdays, the couple decided to get married at St Catherine’s Church in Mile Cross. It was a small wedding with just close family attending. “Nothing as lavish as some of the ones they have today,” Mr Betts said.
When the keen oil painter came out of the navy aged 23, the couple bought their first marital home in Bevan Close, West Earlham.
Seven years later, Mr Betts joined the prison service and was moved to work as a prison officer in Blundeston Prison near Lowestoft.
Mrs Betts was also forced to change roles and, after working as a boot and shoe machinist, took up a job machining lifejackets.
Although a job as a prison officer might be daunting to some, Mr Betts wasn’t fazed by the job – describing it as “fine, alright really”.
The couple have one adopted son, Christopher, 42, who they adopted when he was just five days old in 1971.
He now works in computers and although is mainly based in London, often travels to Australia for his job.
Mr Betts worked for as a prison officer for nearly 30 years before retiring aged 60, when the couple moved to their current home on Withy Way in Thorpe Marriott.
They marked their anniversary last week by having a quiet celebration with a few neighbours and Christopher, who was able to visit his parents for their big day.
Although Mr Betts said he didn’t have much advice, he described the couple’s “very happy marriage”.
“It is one of those marriages where we never go out without each other. The only time we have been apart was when I was in the navy – otherwise, we have always been together. I would not have changed that at all,” he added.