Little Melton couple celebrates 60 years of marriage
- Credit: The Symonds Family
A diamond couple from Little Melton are celebrating 60 years of happy marriage full of music and dancing.
Helen and John Symonds - who wed on November 17 1956 at Easton church - marked their special anniversary with an afternoon tea with family and friends at Dunston Hall.
Mrs Symonds first caught her future husband's eye back in 1954 as he cycled past her while she was waiting to catch the bus into Norwich where she worked at Caley's in Chapelfield.
He plucked up the courage to ask her out and their first date was at a dance at Easton Village Hall. In the early days as well as being regulars at the local dances they enjoyed days out on Mr Symonds' motorbike, visiting most of the bike racing tracks in the south east.
Motorbikes and dancing took a back seat for many years while the couple enjoyed family life, bringing up their two daughters, Sue and Sarah. They lived in Easton for more than 20 years before moving to Little Melton where they have lived for the past 30 years.
When their daughters flew the nest, the call of the dance floor returned. Mr and Mrs Symonds became keen ballroom and Latin dancers and joined NANDA (Norfolk & Norwich Dance Association). They had lessons with professional dance teachers in Norfolk and London and competed at events all over the UK including Blackpool. Mr Symonds went on to become chairman of NANDA and Mrs Symonds became secretary until the club finally closed in the mid 2000s.
Over time Mr Symonds' arthritis and Mrs Symonds' knee replacements intervened and their dancing days came to an end, but their love of music continues.
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Mr Symonds continues as 'Mr Music,' playing party and ballroom music at venues all over East Anglia. Last year the couple hosted a fundraising event at Little Melton Village Hall for the East Anglian Air Ambulance which raised more than £1,600.
Now aged 86 and 81, Mr and Mrs Symonds, who have a granddaughter called Samantha, are well known in Little Melton. Mr Symonds has an allotment and has regularly entered his produce at the annual village show. Mrs Symonds is a member of the village short mat bowls club. Their love of music is still strong and together they are learning to play the electric organ.
Mr Symonds spent his working life as a builder, originally starting as an apprentice with Holmes Shopfitters, which had a depot on Rouen Road, in Norwich, and continuing with the company for more than 20 years before becoming self-employed.
Mrs Symonds worked at Caley's/Mackintosh's for 10 years, starting on the production line and finishing her time there as one of the wages clerks. While the couple's daughters were growing up Mrs Symonds did seasonal work at Colton Fruit Farm and other part time work, and she worked for 10 years at Costessey Co-op before retiring.