Feltwell couple look forward to celebrating their diamond anniversary

John and Verna Ryan are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on March 16. Picture: Ian Burt

John and Verna Ryan are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on March 16. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A couple who will celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary have said the secret of a long and happy marriage is to 'just work at it'.

John and Verna Ryan on their wedding day on March 16 1957. Picture: Ryan family

John and Verna Ryan on their wedding day on March 16 1957. Picture: Ryan family - Credit: Archant

John and Verna Ryan, who live on Falcon Road in Feltwell, near Brandon, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, March 16.

The pair met in 1956 at dances which were held in Feltwell and married the following year at St Mary's Church in the village.

Mr Ryan said he believed it was love at first sight when he met his wife.

Mrs Ryan, who is 86, said: 'We had seen each other about. We knew each other a long time before we started going out. We went to Bury St Edmunds and walked around Abbey Gardens [on their first date].'

John and Verna Ryan are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on March 16. Picture: Ian Burt

John and Verna Ryan are celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary on March 16. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Mr Ryan served with the Parachute Regiment during the Second World War and helped protect bridges in France which allowed equipment to be transported into German territory.

The 93-year-old was just 18 when he signed up. But a German explosive, which his platoon were testing in England, blew up and injured his arm and shoulder and killed three of the group.

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After she finished school at 14, Mrs Ryan worked at a village shop.

After a few years of married life, the couple moved to Cromer and spent 15 years running a bed and breakfast known as Aberdale Holiday Flats, in addition to holiday lets. They retired back to Feltwell 20 years ago.

On their long marriage, Mr Ryan said: 'You just work at it. And it's about give and take.

'Verna has always had more sense than I have. She was always more level headed than I was.'

The couple have two sons, Roger, who is 56, and David - who died 25 years ago of cancer aged 26.

And they have two grandsons, James, 31, and 27-year-old Mark.

'We have had our ups and downs' said Mrs Ryan. 'But we are still here after 60 years, so it cannot be that bad.

'We are lucky enough to have had a long life. We have some nice holidays, including when we went to New Zealand 22 years ago and we hired a camper van.'

The pair will mark their special occasion by going out with their family for lunch at the Park Farm Hotel in Hethersett.

Are you or a member of your family celebrating a special anniversary? Email rebecca.murphy@archant.co.uk

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