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Couple share their secret to making a marriage last for 60 years

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 11 September 2018

Leonard and Dora Harper married 60 years ago on September 6, 1958 at Kessingland St Edmunds church. Photo: Lorraine Harper

Leonard and Dora Harper married 60 years ago on September 6, 1958 at Kessingland St Edmunds church. Photo: Lorraine Harper

Lorraine Harper

It started out as an office romance, but now a Norfolk couple are celebrating after their diamond wedding anniversary was marked in style.

Leonard and Dora Harper, both 80, said the highlight of their diamond celebrations was recieving a card from the Queen. Photo: Lorraine HarperLeonard and Dora Harper, both 80, said the highlight of their diamond celebrations was recieving a card from the Queen. Photo: Lorraine Harper

Leonard and Dora Harper, both 80, celebrated 60 years of marriage with a sit down meal at Waveney House Hotel in Beccles.

The celebration last week was organised by their two daughters, with 30 of their closest family members and friends joining them, including their grandson, four grand daughters and four of Mrs Harper’s original bridesmaids.

A highlight of the celebration was the card the couple received from the Queen, congratulating them on 60 years of commitment.

When asked the secret to their long and happy marriage, Mrs Harper said it was important to “sometimes agree to agree, try not to argue too much. The most important thing is to always be there for each other.”

The pair met in 1957 while working for the Pye TV factory in Oulton Broad and although it was love at first sight for Mr Harper, his future wife was less enthusiastic.

Back then, 19-year-old Mrs Harper was a TV tester at the time and said when her future husband asked her on a date she “wasn’t keen on him”.

But the love-struck TV engineer, also aged 19, was tenacious and continued asking until she agreed to accompany him to watch a movie at the former Odeon cinema in Lowestoft.

After a year of courting, Mrs Harper said they made the mutual decision to get married.

The wedding was on September 6, 1958, at St Edmund’s Church in Kessingland.

Mrs Harper was joined down the aisle by five bridesmaids, all dressed in matching lemon and pale pink frocks.

They moved to their home in Carlton Colville, where they lived for 30 years before moving to Norton Subcourse in 2008.

Mrs Harper worked at the TV factory until they had their first daughter, Carolyn, in 1966, followed by their youngest, Lorraine, four years later.

Her husband swapped TVs for the open sea, travelling the world as a radio operator on liner ships.

The couple have always lived life in the fast lane, spending their free time travelling the UK on motorbikes fixed up by Mr Harper.

Once, the engineering enthusiast rode a BSA motorbike all the way from Norfolk to the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales with his wife on the back, which she admits was amazing fun.

In recent years the couple have taken a step back from high speed living after their daughters urged their father to move to four wheels.

Mrs Harper spends her time playing boules and visiting the theatre with the WI, Mr Harper in his electrical repairs shop in Chedgrave.

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