Couple who first met at hotel celebrate six decades of marriage

Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised on June 3 during diamond anniversary celebrations.

Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised by their family on Thursday, June 3 as they celebrated their diamond anniversary with a special party. - Credit: Mick Howes

A couple who first met at a hotel where they were meant to be learning to dance have gone on to mark six decades of marriage together.

Having lived in Lowestoft all their lives, Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised by their family last Thursday, June 3 as they celebrated their diamond anniversary with a special party.

Mr Mitchell, 83, and Mrs Mitchell, 79, had first met at The Scotsman Hotel on Marine Parade, Kirkley in September 1957.

Mrs Mitchell recalled how Bob was "wearing a bright red shirt with lurex thread" that caught her eye as she thought it was lovely.

Mr Mitchell and Mrs Mitchell on their wedding day on June 3, 1961 in St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft.

Mr Mitchell and Mrs Mitchell on their wedding day on June 3, 1961 in St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft. - Credit: The Mitchell family

The pair went on to meet at Morton Road Youth Club and were engaged a year-and-a-half later, before they married on June 3, 1961 in St Margaret's Church, Lowestoft with the reception at Binghams Restaurant. 


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Mr Mitchell worked at AK Diesels (AKD) initially as an apprentice fitter and turner, building trawler engines and then went on sea trials with them.

Just before he left AKD in 1959, Mr Mitchell and a colleague went to Aberdeen to commission the first six cylinder engine built by the company and fitted in the trawler ‘George Robb’.

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To check the new engine they went on a trip to sea. On their return there was a gale blowing and they were asked if they would go out again but declined and headed home on the train to Lowestoft.

When they arrived they heard that tragically the trawler had been lost at sea that evening.

Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised by their family on Thursday, June 3.

Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised by their family on Thursday, June 3 as they celebrated their diamond anniversary with a special party. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mr Mitchell had two further near misses at sea. He recalled: "I was on the Boston Pionair for three trips and in February 1965 I came off as someone else was keen to go in my place and sadly that was the trip that the ship with her crew of nine was tragically lost."

Another incident saw Mr Mitchell and three others washed overboard in heavy seas on the ‘Boston Arrow’ and they were very lucky to get back on board.

He sailed on trawler ‘St Georges’ for seven years before ending his days at sea to work ashore as a marine engineer.

Asked what the secret was to a long and happy marriage, Mr Mitchell joked that "it was going to sea" for 20 years during which time they had four children - Jackie, Diane, Steven and Lisa.

Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised by their family on Thursday, June 3.

Bryan - Bob as he is known - and Joyce Mitchell were surprised by their family on Thursday, June 3 as they celebrated their diamond anniversary with a special party. - Credit: Mick Howes

As well as the special party and receiving a congratulations card from the Queen, the couple, of Knights Court, Roman Road, Lowestoft, said: "We have four children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, every one a blessing - how fortunate are we!"

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