Celebration for couple married 67 years ago on Christmas Day
- Credit: Archant
Christmas Day is a special time of year for us all, but it is extra special for one couple who celebrate their 67th anniversary tomorrow.
For Stella and Les Best, December 25, 1949 truly was a white Christmas as they tied the knot in north London, four years after Mr Best had returned from Burma where he was in the RAF during the Second World War.
The couple, who live in Caister, near Great Yarmouth, met while working at a post office in Islington. They took the hour-long bus journey home together as he lived in Enfield and she lived in nearby Edmonton.
When war started, Mr Best was 17 and he joined the RAF which took him to Burma for five years.
Mrs Best, 91, said: 'Before the war we hadn't been on a date. Everyone used to go dancing, but Les hated it.
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'When he went away we wrote letters to each other the whole time.
'When he came home at the end of the war he knocked on my door. But it was a surprise as I was in my curlers!'
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They decided on Christmas Day for their wedding because Mrs Best's father's side of the family and friends were all in business so it was the only day of the year they all got off work.
But it was 1949, just four years after the war, so clothing rationing was still in place and she borrowed her dress from a friend and her veil from a cousin.
'We got married at a church in Edmonton and not our local parish church which was full with Christmas Day services.
'Also my local church was only across the road so if we got married there I would have to walk. This way I got to travel in a car!'
The couple had 30 guests on the big day and hosted the reception at Mrs Best's parents' house.
Mrs Best added: 'My parents needed to knock a wall down anyway so this was a good excuse. The room was then big enough for a reception and we borrowed tables.'
They had their first son, Kenneth now 65, in 1951, Melanie in 1955 and their youngest daughter Jackie eight years later. The family moved to Cornwall where they owned a pub and two hotels but they relocated to Norfolk in 2004 as Jackie and Melanie lived here.
Mrs Best said: 'When we both turned 60, we did all the things we wanted to do. We went on 22 cruises and went to South Africa where I'd always wanted to visit.
'We had also bought a small apartment in Florida where we went for winter for 17 years. When we stopped going there we decided to come to Norfolk.'
Mr Best, 92, was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. Mrs Best looked after him at home with just her family to help until she turned 90 last year.
Daughter Jackie said: 'Mum realised she couldn't manage his care any longer. He was falling over a lot and was very unsettled at night.'
Mr Best went to Claremont Lodge in Caister in November last year for respite care and settled down.
Although he has little left of his memory, he does know that he and Mrs Best belong together.
Mrs Best said: 'I always give him a kiss on the lips and sometimes he says, 'can I have another one?'
'Most importantly we always got on well with each other and if we had arguments he'd always give in for a quiet life!'
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