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Is this Norfolk's best love story? Letters to give insight into 1960s life published for first time

PUBLISHED: 06:05 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:14 19 February 2019

Maureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. Mr and Mrs Blake on their wedding day in May 1963. Picture: MAUREEN BLAKE

Maureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. Mr and Mrs Blake on their wedding day in May 1963. Picture: MAUREEN BLAKE

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A collection of letters sat hidden away inside a shoe box in a loft in Norfolk for years gathering dust.

Maureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. Here she is looking through the letters. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPMaureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. Here she is looking through the letters. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

The heart-warming 1960s love story within them was known to just one person.

Now, some 60 years after they were written, the 96 letters are being published for the first time.

They give fascinating insight into life in an endearing era in our history.

Maureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. The box of letters kept by Mrs Blake. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOPMaureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. The box of letters kept by Mrs Blake. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

The letters between young lovers Alan Blake, an RAF serviceman, and future wife Maureen, tell of man’s first voyage into space, America’s battles with Fidel Castro and the first Kuwait emergency.

When Maureen, of Burgh Lane, Mattishall, near Dereham, first met Alan at a dance at the Ilford Palais in East London, it was January, 1961.

It was also the night their life together began after she accepted his offer to escort her home, offering her his overcoat while waiting for the bus on that cold evening.

But just five days later, Alan was getting ready to return to Cyprus for eight months where he was stationed with the RAF.

Already the pair were talking of engagement and marriage. They pledged to write to each other every week.

Maureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. This is one of the photos Mrs Blake sent to Mr Blake during their correspondence. Picture: MAUREEN BLAKEMaureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. This is one of the photos Mrs Blake sent to Mr Blake during their correspondence. Picture: MAUREEN BLAKE

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Mrs Blake said: “We would write about anything and everything. It almost became something of a competition to see who could write the most.”

Maureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. This is one of the photos Mr Blake sent to Mrs Blake during their correspondence in 1961. Picture: MAUREEN BLAKEMaureen Blake, of Mattishall, near Dereham, has launched a blog to publish letters her and her husband Alan wrote to each other in the sixties. This is one of the photos Mr Blake sent to Mrs Blake during their correspondence in 1961. Picture: MAUREEN BLAKE

When Alan returned in August that year, the couple were engaged within eight weeks and married in May 1963. They lived in Hullbridge for 40 years and had two sons, before moving to retire in Norfolk in 2003.

Alan was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 2017 and died on January 6, 2018, aged 78.

Since his death, Mrs Blake has rediscovered the letters. And now, the 75-year-old grandmother of five, is publishing the letters in “real time.”

The blog, entitled Alamore, features edited versions of the letters, with diary extracts, photographs and music from the era.

Mrs Blake added: “I realised I had invaluable source material which covered social attitudes of the time together with national and international events. The first man went into space that year. The first Kuwait emergency and Cuba and Castro figured in the news and were mentioned in the letters.”

- Visit alamore.co.uk to read Maureen and Alan’s letters.



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