Norwich couple had two reasons to celebrate on day of 70th wedding anniversary

A happy Norwich couple have double cause for celebration on Tuesday as they celebrated 70 years of marriage as well as a birthday.

George and Christiana Beckett, of Lion Wood Road, will be celebrating their platinum anniversary together, on the same day that Mr Beckett turns 88.

The couple first met on Prince of Wales Road in 1939, but as Mr Beckett was called up for service in 1941, they decided to get married before he went.

Mrs Beckett, whose maiden name was Chettleburgh, said: 'We were engaged and we kept talking about it, so when he was called up for the forces we did it.'

Mr Beckett said they first met on 'chicken road'.

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'On Sunday afternoons all the young people used to go up and down along the walk to Castle Museum, meeting one another.

'Her mate knew my mate and that was how we got together. Something must have clicked.'

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Both were brought up in Norwich with Mrs Beckett living in Plumstead Road and Mr Beckett living in Drayton Road. He proposed one day when he was walking her home along Plumstead Road.

They got married in City Hall, shortly before Mr Beckett had to leave the country with the army, including three years in the Far East. Mrs Beckett was also called forward to work in an ammunitions factory.

Mr Beckett was able to witness the birth of their first child Brian, but his time overseas meant he did not see their second son George until he was three years old.

Today, the couple have four children, Brian, George, Janice and Susan, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Mr Beckett said: 'Family has always been important, they still are. We are very close to all our family.'

This week they celebrated their special day early with a family meal at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton, but 10 years ago they marked their diamond wedding anniversary with a surprise service at St Matthew's Church.

Mrs Beckett, 89, said: 'It had always been my wish, as I said I wasn't married until it was in the proper place.' The couple lived together in Morse Avenue for 40 years, while both worked for the Florida Shoe factory, in Salhouse Road. Mr Beckett worked a wide variety of jobs in the factory for 48 years, while Mrs Beckett was there for 11 years after their children had grown up.

Today they enjoy spending time with their family, with regular day trips to Lowestoft and Wroxham, while in the past they enjoyed holidays abroad, including trips to America, Australia and Spain.

Mr Beckett enjoys gardening but since Mrs Beckett fractured a hip at the beginning of the year he has been learning to cook. Mrs Beckett said: 'The trouble is he likes his food so much he either makes it or he does without.'

Mr Beckett also suffered a stroke five years ago but they continue to fight against the health problems.

Mrs Beckett said: 'I loved him then and I still love him.'

Asked the key to a long marriage she added: 'It is a little give and take. If anyone can say they have a smooth marriage without a few quarrels – I don't believe them.'

Is someone in your family celebrating a special anniversary? Email or call 01603 772418.

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